Diaz Jr. Goes to War Against French ‘Slanders and Libels’

A (presumably sad) mime. (Photo: Jeff Mitchell/Getty)

A (presumably sad) mime. (Photo: Jeff Mitchell/Getty)

The Bronx is burning–with anger over misplaced stereotypes.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is fuming over recent debate among French politicians over whether Paris does, or does not, resemble the Bronx. 

“Paris resembles the Bronx,” France’s former National Police Chief Frederic Pechenard recently declared in the English-language Quartz publication, apparently using the Bronx as a proxy to represent crime and economic decline. “Paris is not the Bronx,” countered other politicians in the article.

Mr. Diaz, in a lengthy statement released this morning, found this sort of talk offensive.

“The tired, ancient stereotypes about the Bronx continue to unfairly cloud the minds of people as far away as Paris, France. We in the Bronx have had enough,” he declared.

Mr. Diaz argued that the Bronx has made tremendous progress over the years and no longer can be used as a symbol of violent crime and other social ills, “Yet here we are, once again, forced to defend our hometown from the slanders and libels of politicians thousands of miles away, in Paris no less, who are using the Bronx to score cheap political points.”

“Enough already,” he said.

View the full statement below:

“The tired, ancient stereotypes about the Bronx continue to unfairly cloud the minds of people as far away as Paris, France. We in the Bronx have had enough.

“Crime has steadily dropped in the Bronx. Last year, the Bronx had the lowest rate of crime it has seen since the early 1960’s, and this year our borough is on pace to be even safer.

“And we’re not just leading the way in crime reduction. Tens of thousands of new housing units have been constructed here, new businesses are coming to our borough and the existing businesses are growing. We are leading the way in ‘green’ construction, with projects like Via Verde. We have major new projects such as the PGA caliber golf course at Ferry Point Park and the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, which will add to the list of reasons, like the new Yankee Stadium, and the New York Botanical Garden, as to why the Bronx remains an international destination.

“Yet here we are, once again, forced to defend our hometown from the slanders and libels of politicians thousands of miles away, in Paris no less, who are using the Bronx to score cheap political points. Enough already. While we may not be home to the Eiffel Tower, we are the home to 1.4 million hardworking people who are proud of their hometown and how far the Bronx has come.

“The elected officials of Paris would do well to remember that and focus on the issues Paris faces today, rather than the issues the Bronx faced decades ago,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

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