Billionaire Michael Bloomberg suddenly feels regret. As mayor of New York for 12 years, Bloomberg oversaw an aggressive tough-on-crime stop-and-frisk policy that disproportionately targeted African Americans and Latinos. And for that he is sorry.
That wasn't his story a few months ago. Before he decided to jump in the race to unseat President Donald Trump, Bloomberg was not a fan of admitting wrong and maligned an apology culture in politics. He mocked presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke for bowing to pressure: Biden for an "apology tour" after criticism of a crime bill some believe led to the mass incarceration of black men, and O'Rourke for apologizing for his white privilege.
Yet there was Bloomberg a couple of weeks ago standing before a congregation at an African American megachurch in Brooklyn, seeking mercy. He had not yet announced his run for president, but rumors were strong that he was. Despite trash-talking Biden, now his political rival, Bloomberg needs the African American vote, which accounts for about a fifth of Democrats.
A more than decade-long police state against brown people is not a good look. At the height of his stop-and-frisk program, police stopped 575,000 people, and African Americans and Latinos were stopped the most, according to The New York Times. Police made about 685,000 stops in 2011 and 87 percent were African American or Latino. It was bound to come up during the election and Bloomberg obviously sought to head it off early. Else, he runs the chance of looking like Trump, who has praised such policies throughout his term.
Voters are holding candidates accountable for their past actions, but they shouldn't stop their scrutiny at these apologies of convenience. Candidates need to prove their case beyond words. If not, people should show their displeasure at the ballot.
Editorial on 12/02/2019
Print Headline: A late political apology