No group is immune to knuckle-headed appeals to racial and religious antagonism or to the lure of the familiar tribe. So I was nervous about Nikki Tinker’s nasty primary campaign against Democratic Representative Steven Cohen in his majority-black Memphis district.
I don’t know the internal politics operating in that community. The Congressional Black Caucus had been a bit frosty to Cohen. As an Obama supporter, I was especially nervous about writing on this thing. This is not a great season to become enmeshed with something like this.
Like Mark, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harold-pollack/nikki-tinker-youve-lost-m_b_117408.html>I covered it anyway. As someone of Jewish heritage who often works in African-American communities, I took this personally. If I am not for myself, who will be? I added the following:
Many outsiders assume that African-American communities are anti-white and anti-Semitic. That’s just not my experience. Campaigns such as Nikki Tinker’s do such a disservice in feeding these stereotypes. News flash: This is not a great moment to send out this poisonous vibe.
Turns out, the vibe sent was a healing one. Debunking the stereotype, Memphis voters took care of business themselves in a richly satisfying landslide. You can’t always win, but it is richly satisfying when you do.