Eric Adams was elected mayor of New York City in 2021 in part because he portrayed himself as a Democrat with common sense. But all he has done since then is prove that this is a concept on the verge of extinction.
A Washington Heights community meeting on Wednesday saw an elderly resident rip into Adams for the Rent Guidelines Board approving rent increases in the city twice in Adams’ tenure. Adams, who is responsible for appointing the members of the panel, indicated that he was in favor.
During the exchange, the angry woman dared to literally do some finger-pointing at Adams from about 100 feet away. This faux fended 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:
Adams claimed that he did not “control the [Rent Guidelines Board]” but the woman continued to rant at a microphone after Adams’s assertion.
The woman repeatedly pointed her finger at Adams and said, “You’ve supported rent increases before!”
Adams, on the other hand, did not share the constituents’ attitude.
He said, “First of all, if you want to ask me a question, please don’t disrespect me by pointing at me.”
I’m the mayor of the city. Treat me with respect. I’m talking to you as adults.
Don’t treat someone on your plantation the way you would treat someone who is not yours.
.@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
Twitter was awash with reactions to the Twitter back and forth. Most condemned Adams for how he treated this woman.
One Twitter user wrote: “This woman’s name is Jeanie Dubnau. She is the co-founder of the Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association, a tenant & housing rights advocacy group in Upper Manhattan.” She has spent +40 years fighting for the rights of low-income NYers, regardless of race. Jeanie was not racist and this was wrong.”
Another person wrote: “Eric Adams has a thin skin.” Imagine calling an old woman who rents a flat a slavemaster because she doubts your judgment.
Another Twitter user said: “What he meant to say was that I had no policy-based answer but I’m lucky you are white because I can unwarrantedly pull the race card.”
You know, at these events, I can understand that situations between elected officials and community members can become tense. Sometimes, the tone used by one or both sides escalates the situation.
There’s a big difference between a politician saying, “Let’s lower the temperature a little” and bringing race into a conversation that has nothing to do with race.
In addition, I would like to point out that “respect” is not an automatic thing in the United States for any position that was elected. While most people are respectful of the office they hold, it’s another thing to respect the person who holds that position.
Respect is earned, no matter if you hold a public office or not. This is not owned by anyone.
Adams is the one who has power and treats Dubnau as if she were subhuman. It’s not the other direction around. What was she supposed to kiss next?
I would like to see Mayor Adams perform better in the future, but at this point, it’s too much to expect.
Adams’s emergence as a real candidate was a flash in the eye. New Yorkers should be prepared to vote accordingly the next time.