Some social media users aren’t too happy with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he used both the N-word and a slur used to describe Italian immigrants on live radio.
The Democratic governor was reading from a New York Times editorial about the racist language Tuesday when he appeared on the public radio station WAMC in Albany.
“Pardon my language, but I’m just quoting the Times, n—-r w–s, n-word w–s,” Cuomo said.
Black New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams held the governor to task on Twitter Tuesday and shared a news article with the headline “Gov. Cuomo drops the n-word during live radio interview.”
“This headline brought to you by the 1940s and empowered white privilege,” Williams tweeted.
He echoed sentiments several other Black social media users shared Tuesday.
Web critic Diane Alston tweeted:
“and andrew cuomo?! out here saying the n word with the hard r?! y’all have well and truly lost your minds today, oh my god.”
Conservative White House correspondent Jon Miller tweeted:
“Should Andrew Cuomo get a pass for saying ‘n—-r’? Bc I thought only blacks were able to say that word! Have the rules changed? Please, Leftists, inform us of the new ones bc if this was anyone on the right they‘d be removed from office immediately.”
Cuomo, whose parents are both of Italian descent, read the offensive language the day after vowing to support a New York City memorial for Italian-American nun Mother Cabrini.
He later said his ancestors were often referred to as “n—-r w–s.”
The New York Times editorial the governor was referencing analyzed discrimination Italian people faced before and after migrating to the United States.
Black editorial writer Brent Staples used the headline “How Italians Became ‘White'” for the piece Saturday.
“Some were designated ‘whiter’ — and more worthy of citizenship — than others,” Staples said in the article, “while some were ranked as too close to blackness to be socially redeemable.”
Citing historian Matthew Frye Jacobson, Staples later wrote in the article:
“Darker skinned southern Italians endured the penalties of blackness on both sides of the Atlantic.
“In Italy, Northerners had long held that Southerners — particularly Sicilians — were an ‘uncivilized’ and racially inferior people, too obviously African to be part of Europe.”
Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the first Black speaker, said in a media statement he didn’t take offense to Cuomo’s comments.
“The Governor was quoting a New York Times story and was using it for context,” Heastie said.
It is not the first time Cuomo has been accused of getting to comfortable with triggering sentiments.
He joked with predominantly Black parishioners at Harlem’s Mount Neboh Baptist Church back in March that Jewish people couldn’t dance.
“I’m a Catholic,” he said, according to the New York Post. “Catholics basically believe the same thing as Baptists believe. We just do it without the rhythm.
“But we try. We try. We are not as without rhythm as our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the Working Families Party, however, demanded an apology for Cuomo’s recent language, according to NBC New York.
“That word is a stain on this country’s soul,” Mitchell said. “No white person should use it in any context, for any reason — least of all as an example of how he thinks HE has been unfairly treated.
“Governor Cuomo needs to apologize right now.”