News Column

Cohen Explains That 'Black' Tweet

July 23, 2013
steve cohen
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. (photo: official portrait)

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen explained a tweet in which he said a black man called him black by saying, "My constituents don't look at me as a white person."

On Saturday, Cohen, a Democrat representing Tennessee's predominantly black 9th Congressional District, tweeted "Told AfricanAmerican towdriver my week -father -DNA test not father reporter/ attractive fallout.he(not aware of TN9)says,You're BLack! Yo."

The tweet was in reference to Cohen's rough week -- he discovered through a paternity test that he was not the father of Victoria Brink, a 24-year-old woman he spent three years thinking was his daughter, then he was slammed for commenting on a reporter's appearance, MSNBC reported.

On Monday, Cohen, 64, explained the tweet, saying: "I drive an 86 Caddy, a lot of African-Americans drive old cars, Cadillac's. It dies, twice in two weeks. [the late blues guitarist] Albert King [sang he] didn't have bad luck, had no luck at all. I'm having no luck, he [the tow driver] drives me, we ditch the car, I come out and tell him the story. I said I've had a tough week. Daughter, great, find out it's not daughter, blitz. Say something nice to reporter, get attacked. It's been hell. He goes, man, you're black! I took it as a compliment."

"I hear it in Memphis all the time. My constituents don't look at me as a white person, they say, 'You're one of us,'" Cohen said. "It's a wonderful thing; District 9 is a microcosm of how America can work. Blacks can and do embrace me as their congressperson. That's what America needs to do in all cases. White people in some areas have not accepted Barack Obama yet. That's part of the race dialogue we need to have."

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Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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