Kentucky Governor insults Black high school chess players

Gov. Matt Bevin stated surprise that the students in the West Louisville community were playing what is considered a highly intellectual game of strategy

Matt Bevin
(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin made a tone-deaf and biased statement that angered the West Louisville community while visiting black school kids who he didn’t think was up for the challenge of being chess players, the Courier Journal reports.

Bevin made the insult in a video he posted outside Nativity School in St. Boniface as he was preparing to visit the high school to promote their after-school activities– one of them being chess.

“I’m here at the Nativity Academy,” the governor said in his Twitter video.

“I’m about to go in and meet the members of the West Louisville Chess Club. Not something you necessarily would have thought of when you think of this section of town and yet some incredible young minds, some incredible teachers.”

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The problem is, the majority of kids playing chess black. The comment sparked outrage on social media and the backlash to the Republican’s insensitive comment was swift.

“It was just an obvious move by the governor to take photos with the African-American community,” City Councilman David James, who represents the area, said.

“To perpetuate a stereotype of the African-American community like that is unbelievable.”

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Other pointed out how the comment classified not only as “racist” but “classist.”

“You, the governor of the great state of Kentucky, publicly stated that chess is something only played in certain parts of Louisville? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? ANY PERSON can play chess, regardless of race, religion, income or address,” Brooke Amadon posted in response.

Instead of apologizing for the governor’s out-of-touch comment, Elizabeth Kuhn, the spokeswoman for the governor, defended the video, calling the criticism “disappointing.”

“Governor Bevin met with the West Louisville Chess Club to showcase an important program that is encouraging sportsmanship and character building among Kentucky’s youth,” Kuhn said in a statement.

“It is disappointing that some are trying to shift the focus away from the incredible accomplishments of these talented kids.”