Former New York City mayor, Mike Bloomberg has acknowledged the challenges that stem from systemic and institutional structures hindering the welfare of America’s black people.
In a pitch to African-Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma in late January, the billionaire and White House hopeful explained his understanding of how being white helped his chances of success.
“I also know that my story might have turned out very differently if I had been black, and that more black Americans of my generation would have ended up with far more wealth, had they been white,” Bloomberg told the congregation.
Before this epiphany, Bloomberg had already sought absolution for overseeing and encouraging the unpopular policing method of stop-and-frisk during his three-term reign as mayor between 2002 and 2014.
Whether or not he would be forgiven is something we can only tell after the votes have come in from Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina among other states with big black populations.
Currently, Bloomberg is polling at 22% favorability with black Democrats, five points behind Joe Biden and three ahead of Bernie Sanders in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
But audio of an interview from 2015 that has resurfaced as part of the primaries might change all of that and further bolster the skeptic’s case against Bloomberg’s ability to confront racial inequalities.
In the audio, Bloomberg at the Aspen Institute was answering questions on his record as a mayor. When it came to stop-and-frisk, the former mayor said: “Ninety-five percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims” fit the same profile. You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 16 to 25.”
He continued: “One of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that is true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that is true. Why did we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
In another interview, whose video is also available, Bloomberg also said that he felt the likely perpetrators of crime meant that white people were the true victims of the inconveniences of stop-and-frisk.