When Steve Cohen, a white man, was elected last year to represent mostly black Memphis in Congress, it was seen as a sign that racial divisions were fading in this Southern city.
But less than a year later, Cohen is facing a movement led by black pastors and political activists to defeat him in 2008 and send a black representative to Washington instead.
"He's not black, and he can't represent me. That's the bottom line," the Rev. Robert Poindexter told a local newspaper after a meeting last week of the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association at which Cohen was jeered and booed.
The black preachers have other grudges against Cohen: He was the primary force behind the creation of the lottery in Tennessee; he spoke out against a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; and he complained about a reference to Jesus in a prayer before a state Senate session.
Hard to pick sides on that one. The ideological stupidity kind of cancels each side out.