If Herenton and the others who play in this racialist game were presiding over a city that was prosperous for Black people I would be somewhat pacified. Instead the last time I was in Memphis they were debating a curfew for teens as a means of slowing the massive crime spree that had been taking place. In addition the government was still reeling from the corruption charges that had rocked several politicians.
All of this leads me to believe what seems obvious - the naked racial politicking by Herenton and others are merely for selfish purposes. He wants to get a seat in the Congress. He seeks as many Black people as possible to "vote their race" rather than vote on the present state of affairs in the city and its schools.
One of the most hotly contested issues of the Democratic congressional primary race between Willie Herenton and Steve Cohen may be why the district lines are drawn the way they are.
The 9th Congressional District has been predominantly in Memphis for decades. In recent years it has grown to take in small parts of the suburbs. The lines could change again after the 2010 Census, when the Tennessee Legislature begins its usual reapportioning process.
Herenton and his supporters have repeatedly said the district’s borders were drawn to enhance the possibility of black representation in a congressional delegation that’s all white.
“I want you ... to help us to retrieve for our children what we lost in representation,” Herenton told a predominantly black crowd of 300 people Saturday at an East Memphis campaign rally.
To make the point even plainer, Herenton quoted radio talk show host and political blogger Thaddeus Matthews.
“Think about that. White folks, y’all got all 11. We just want one,” Herenton said to cheers from the crowd.
The legal concept and practice of drawing districts that reflect a majority black population, however, is not that simple. It’s rooted in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Section II of the act requires that, in certain circumstances, districts be drawn to “give effect to the political preferences of the minority population.”
“This is actually a fairly technical area and it’s been the subject of a lot of litigation over the years, trying to interpret how Section II applies,” said attorney John Ryder.
This is yet another reason why I believe that "Majority Minority Districts" should be made illegal. They assure power for the Democratic Party and too often assure that the Black community's interests are neglected. In as much as a sizable number of Blacks "who can" are moving out of these districts toward more diverse districts - it seems rational that the districts should be made as such as a means of allowing new, more effective leadership to take over. I have more PRIDE in thriving Black schools and local economies than I do in seeing a Black face in the legislature.
Herenton: We Just Want One (Black In The US Congress From TN and I Want It To Be Me)