Eric Adams won the New York City mayoral election in 2021 based in part on his portrayal of himself as a common-sense Democrat, but all he’s done since taking office is to prove that such a thing is pretty danged close to extinction.
As further evidence, during a Wednesday community meeting in Washington Heights, an elderly constituent ripped into Adams over the city’s Rent Guidelines Board recently approving for the second time in Adams’ tenure to rent increases, something Adams – who is in charge of appointing members to the panel – indicated he supported.
During the exchange, the angry woman dared to literally do some finger-pointing at Adams from about 100 feet away. This fauxfended Adams, who proceeded to inexplicably inject race into the discussion by calling the senior woman, who is white and likely on a fixed income, a “plantation owner” for “disrespecting” him:
After Adams insisted that he “does not control the [Rent Guidelines Board,” the woman continued her rant into a microphone.
“You said before and after that you supported those rent increases!” the woman insisted while repeatedly jabbing her finger in Adams’ direction.
Adams, however, was not having the constituent’s attitude.
“First, if you’re going to ask a question, don’t point at me and don’t be disrespectful to me,” he said calmly.
“I’m the mayor of this city and treat me with the respect that would deserve to be treated. I’m speaking to you as an adult.
“Don’t stand in front like you treated someone that’s on the plantation that you own.”
.@NYCMayor went off on a woman during his town hall tonight: "I'm the mayor of this city and treat me with the respect that would deserve to be treated. I'm speaking to you as an adult. Don't stand in front like you treated someone that's on the plantation that you own." pic.twitter.com/Qwn8TgYFD1
— Myles Miller (@MylesMill) June 29, 2023
Reactions on Twitter to the back and forth were pretty universal, with most condemning Adams over how he treated the woman.
“This woman is Jeanie Dubnau, the Co-Founder of the Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association (RENA), a tenants & housing rights advocacy organization in Upper Manhattan,” wrote one Twitter user. “She has +40 years advocating for low income NYers of all races. Jeanie is not a racist & this was wrong.”
“Eric Adams is remarkably thin-skinned,” wrote another. “Imagine calling some old lady who rents an apartment a slave master because she questions your judgment.”
“What he really meant to say is: I have no policy-based response but luckily you’re white so I can pull the race card unwarranted,” another Twitter user opined.
You know, I understand at these things that sometimes situations can get tense between elected officials and members of the community, and sometimes one side or the other do escalate events by the tone they use with each other.
But, regardless of where one stands on the issue of rent increases in NYC, there’s a difference between an elected official saying “Let’s drop the temperature a bit” and dropping the race card into a discussion that had nothing to do with race.
Further, I should also point out that there is not a position in this country occupied by someone who was elected to it where “respect” should be an automatic given. Though most people respect the public office, respecting the person holding it is a different matter altogether.
No matter who you are, public officeholder or not, respect has to be earned. It is not by any means owed to anyone.
If anything here it was Adams, who is in a position of power, treating Dubnau like she was subhuman, beneath him, not the other way around. I mean what what she supposed to do next, kiss his ring?
I’d like to suggest that Mayor Adams do better going forward, but I know at this point that’s just too much to ask.
In the blink of an eye, Adams has confirmed to New Yorkers who he really is, and they should consider responding accordingly at the ballot box next time around.