YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Dinkins' No-Win Media Battle

November 04, 1990

Re "Dinkins Descending" (Oct. 28): If ever a public official was in a no-win position, it's New York Mayor David Dinkins. Because he has a low-key, deliberative political style, he is accused of being indecisive. Because he studies the issues and does not seek to inflame and polarize his constituents, as did his predecessor Ed Koch, he is criticized for being ponderous and boring.

Because Dinkins does not immediately hire hundreds more policemen despite a budget shortfall in his city of more than $1.5 billion, he is said to be indifferent to crime. Because he did not fly to Utah (presumably at taxpayers' expense) to attend the funeral of a white tourist killed during a hold-up, he is accused of being insensitive to the victim and his family.

Yet the critics did not demand that Dinkins attend the funerals of the dozens of blacks who are murdered yearly in the city. And if he had flown to Utah, you can bet these same critics would have turned around and accused him of political grandstanding.

Now, here is the final rub. Because Dinkins dresses tastefully, speaks proper English, likes tennis, believes in personal hygiene and is family oriented, he is accused of having a quirky lifestyle.

Why don't we stop all this nonsense and call the carping against Dinkins what it really is: racism. Dinkins inherited the reins of a bankrupt, decaying, crime-prone city. Like Koch before him, he cannot wave a magic wand and make New York's mountainous ills disappear. But unlike Koch, Dinkins is black and has become the convenient scapegoat of frustrated New Yorkers.

My message to Dinkins is this: Ignore your detractors. Play all the tennis and take as many showers as you want. You're doing as good a job as anyone else could hope to do in a miserable situation.



Los Angeles Times Articles