David Broder's piece on my winning the Democratic nomination for the governorship of Massachusetts {op-ed, Sept. 23} was character assassination masquerading as journalism.

Mr. Broder's claim that I have been stirring up resentments linked to race would be laughable if it were not so unfair. It also was based on false reporting. Mr. Broder said that I failed to campaign in Boston's black neighborhoods because I saw no point in going there "to talk to a bunch of addicts." In fact I campaigned repeatedly in black neighborhoods. I mentioned drug addicts only in explaining why I had not delivered a made-for-TV speech about crime in Area B -- a police district where junkies, pushers and gangs terrorize the residents.

Mr. Broder repeated The New York Times story in which its Boston correspondent inaccurately claimed that I had justified my alleged non-appearance in Roxbury and Dorchester with the "addict" remark. No one who watched the television debate -- during which I said: "I've been in that area, I suppose, at least 10 times in the last two months" -- could have written that.

I don't need Mr. Broder's condescending concession that I am "no racist." I began fighting for racial justice long before it was fashionable. In 1957 I put my job on the line at the University of Texas to defend the right of a black woman -- Barbara Smith Conrad -- to sing in an opera production opposite a white man.

When school integration came to Boston, I was one of the few Boston leaders to argue publicly that the integration order ought to be obeyed not merely because it was the law but because it was right, and the only university president to offer his institution's uncompensated services in the implementation of the order.

Under my leadership, Boston University has consistently targeted black freshmen for far more than their numerical share of financial aid. It is easy to see why Mr. Broder ignored this record. It makes nonsense of this preposterous claim that I am a latter-day avatar of George Wallace.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Broder cannot recognize that government in Massachusetts has failed everyone and that there is no need to invent a racist explanation for voter revolt. Apparently he believes that only the Yankee equivalents of "rednecks" could be so ungrateful for life under a "progressive" regime that they would vote to reject it. And so he defames me and the hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens, black and white, who voted for me.

He still doesn't get it. JOHN SILBER Boston

The writer is the Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts.