Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Stereotyping Memphis and Shelby County

The August 7 Republican Primary Race for U.S. Congressional District 7 is drawing more and more attention in the media. Shelby County Registrar Tom Leatherwood hopes to best incumbent Marsha Blackburn in the primary which will likely determine the outcome of the General Election in November.

This quote from today's Commercial Appeal article gets my blood boiling:

Leatherwood is taking an aggressive approach, swinging at Blackburn for her effectiveness, questioning the accuracy of her campaign financial disclosures and jabbing criticism at her tactics of characterizing him as tied to Memphis rather than Shelby County and his hometown of Arlington.

When I first started working in state government in 2000, it did not take long to notice the hostile attitudes toward Memphis and Shelby County held by people in the central and eastern parts of Tennessee. Whenever I attended statewide meetings and discussed the special needs and issues of Memphis and Shelby County, I could hear eyes roll within my fellow Tennesseans from other parts of the state. With Shelby County's large African American population, the culture of my part of Tennessee differs significantly from the rest of Tennessee.

I am not naive. Memphis and Shelby County has suffered many unethical fools in public and elected service that has led to mistrust of anything coming out of my home city and county.

But this hostility grew to contempt when I recently participated in a statewide ethics training via satellite link. The trainer from the Ethics Commission in Nashville ridiculed Memphis and Shelby County during the training as if we weren't even there. It was insulting.

The efforts of the Blackburn campaign to demonize Tom Leatherwood with references to associations with Memphis and the contempt expressed by the ethics trainer plays into the worst kind of stereotyping. When politicians use Memphis to divide and conquer the electorate, it smacks of racism.


MickeyWhite said...

Yes you are correct. Congress has a less than 18% approval rate and Marsha Blackburn is Part of the Problem. It is time to boot the Whole Lot Out!
Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
She is no conservative.
See her unconstitutional votes at my old blog:
See current info at:

Rossville TN

AlanR said...

And yet in the same article you missed the tipoff that Tom really is part of the sterotype.

"On the phone from his office on Mullins Station, "

Since he doesn't have a campaign headquarters on Mullins Station but he does have a Register's office, I'm guessing he is campainging from his taxpayer financed county office.

Other than that, why would anyone think Tom was a Memphis kind of guy?

Novak said...

Project Vote Smart:

Tom Leatherwood (TN)

Office Seeking: U.S. House
District Seeking: 7
Party: Republican

Background Information
Gender: Male
Family: Married
3 Children.
Birth Date: 08/20/56
Birthplace: Memphis, TN

...yeah he's not a Memphis guy. He was only born there, raised there and holds an office there.

MickeyWhite said...

Novak,you complain that Tom was born in Memphis, but, this may be news to you, Memphis is in Tennessee. Marsha "Queen of Pork" Blackburn was born Where? (not TN)

Novak said...

Mickey, I know you normally don't know how to spell constitution and apparently you can't read either. The point I was making was that Tom is complaining in the article that people are saying that he is from Memphis. The point is...he is from Memphis! I don't care If my Congressman was born in the district they represent or not. It really doesn't matter. Tom though shouldn't try and run and hide from his roots just like you shouldn't try and hide the fact that you lost to Blackburn in 2004 by barely getting over 900 votes which is why you now direct your pent up frustration with spamming any website that mentions Blackburn's name. You clearly have stalking issues and should seek immediate help.

MickeyWhite said...

Novak, Novak, it was 2006 that I and 4 other independents ran against her. I was posting and writing about her Un-Constitutional votes within the first year she was elected (2002). As one of her constituents, I feel it is my duty to warn as Many people about her voting record. Please, defend her record, that is what I am attacking, not Her.