A New York state senator — Velmanette Montgomery, a black Democrat — walked back comments she made about the eating habits of “white people” versus those of minority races, saying she misspoke and could have been a bit more articulate.
Ms. Montgomery, who represents Clinton Hill, was criticizing the closing of a Brooklyn grocery store to The Brooklyn Paper when she said “white people don’t eat the way we do.” When asked about the comments, and whether they were racist, Ms. Montgomery said she had been “unfortunately very inarticulate,” the New York Daily News reported.
She also said to the newspaper that she really meant to convey an economic point: that groceries in neighborhoods populated by senior-age adults and lower-income families don’t need “specialty” shops like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
“It wasn’t meant to be a racial phrase,” she said, explaining how she was shocked by $5 tomatoes at Trader Joe’s, the New York Daily News reported. “You can’t feed a family in a store like that.”
She went on, the newspaper said: “There are some communities where Trader Joe’s is the hottest thing in town — but not for this particular community. We need a supermarket that continues to be affordable, that is of sufficient size and variety, that serves the whole community.”
The grocery at issue is the Key Food and is reportedly being shuttered to make way for a housing facility that could eventually include a new food shop, the New York Daily News reported.