NBC’s Brokaw apologizes for saying Hispanics should ‘work harder at assimilation’

NBC’s Tom Brokaw on Sunday apologized for saying earlier in the day that Hispanics should “work harder at assimilation” during a conversation about xenophobia in the U.S.

Brokaw tweeted his apology after he was criticized by some lawmakers and activists over his comments, which Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) called “ignorant.”

{mosads}”[I] feel terrible a part of my comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture,” Brokaw tweeted.

Brokaw’s apology came in a series of disjointed tweets throughout the day. 

“From my days reporting on [Cesar Chavez] to documenting the many contributions of hispanics in all parts of our culture … [I’ve] worked hard to knock down false stereo types,” Brokaw wrote. “In my final comment in [Meet the Press, I] said ALL sides hv to work harder.” 

“[I] am sorry, truly sorry, my comments were offensive to many,” Brokaw wrote later. “[T]he great enduring american tradition of diversity is to be celebrated and cherished.”

Brokaw is a veteran journalist best known for having hosted all three of NBC’s major news shows: “The Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” and “Meet the Press.” 

He was appearing as a guest on “Meet the Press” when the topic of immigration came up.

“A lot of this we don’t want to talk about,” Brokaw said. “But the fact is, on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary, important, new constituent in American politics, Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats.”

“Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, ‘Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies,’ ” Brokaw added without elaborating. “I mean, that’s also a part of it.”

“It’s the intermarriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other,” Brokaw said. “I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time.”
“You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities,” Brokaw concluded. “And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.” 

“PBS NewsHour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who also appeared on the panel, responded by telling Brokaw that his sentiment was “troubling.”

“I would just say that we also need to adjust what we think of as America,” Alcindor said. “You’re talking about assimilation. I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English. And the idea that we think Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is, in some ways, troubling.”

Tags Joaquin Castro

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