Posted on January 28, 2019

NBC News’ Tom Brokaw Apologizes for Hispanic ‘Assimilation’ Remarks

Caitlin Oprysko, Politico, January 28, 2019

NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw apologized Sunday evening for comments he made earlier in the day on “Meet the Press” calling for Hispanics in the U.S. to “work harder at assimilation.”

The comments from the former host of “NBC Nightly News” sparked a quick backlash both on social media and on set from PBS “NewsHour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who also appeared on the same “Meet the Press” panel. Hours after his comments aired, Brokaw apologized online.

“I am sorry, truly sorry, my comments were offensive to many. The great enduring American tradition of diversity is to be celebrated and cherished,” he wrote on Twitter, part of a flurry of posts backtracking on his earlier remarks. “I am sorry — I never intended to disparage any segment of our rich, diverse society which defines who we are. … Finally, I am sorry I failed to convey my strong belief that diversity — dynamic and inclusive is what makes America.”


{snip} But he said that there are also some who are simply opposed to welcoming Hispanics into the American fold due to the color of their skin.

“Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, ‘Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies,’” he said. “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.”

He continued: “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. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”

Among those who voiced their displeasure with Brokaw online was Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), whose twin brother Julián Castro is running for president.


“I would just say that we also need to adjust what we think of as America. You’re talking about assimilation. I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English,” the PBS correspondent told Brokaw. “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.”