Everyone focused on the impact on white people of the Playboy bunny ad. Booker Rising reminds us that fear of miscegnation cuts both ways. The fact of the matter is that the eligible bachelor Harold is rumored to have dumped his “perfect” black girlfriend — successful, well-educated, pretty, good family, Christian sister — in favor of a white girlfriend who is kept out of the spotlight.

This kind of thing doesn’t always go over well with the sisters. And sisters have a way of voting.

I was surprised how most critics only focused on how this ad played to Tennessee white male fears of black male-white female unions. Booker Rising was one of the very, very few observers to note how the controversial ad also played to the anxieties of another group on this issue: black women, who comprise the majority of Tennessee’s black voters. 81% of likely Tennessee voters, of all races, saw the ad, and undecided folks who saw the ad broke 2-1 in favor of Mr. Corker.

Let this be a lesson for other black men who seek higher political office: when you believe that you are too good for black women, don’t be surprised if chasing after white women hurts your career with voters. Particularly in a tight political race. How many black women – who could have perhaps reversed that slim lead of 48,495 votes that Mr. Corker possessed at the end of this political race – did not turn out to vote (or left the ballot for this particular race blank) because they were turned off by what they saw in the ad? First of all, a guy running for statewide office in a state like Tennessee should have had more political sense to go to any event associated with Playboy, and a black man – regardless of his actual dating preferences – should not make it so easy for his opponents to use such a controversial issue as a wedge issue against him by attending said party either.

You know, I live in a pretty diverse cosmopolitan city and am used to seeing interracial couples so I admit to having a blind spot here. Personally, I think people are just people. People should be able to date and marry whomever they want.

Yet the anger that many black women express at feeling rejected by successful black men in favor of white women is real and fierce. I’ve heard it even among extended family members. What impact did this ad have in dousing support and flaring racist feelings among blacks as well as whites in TN? In a close race, any erosion of the base might have thwarted Ford’s victory. We still won the Senate, thank god, by a hair. Still, there are important lessons here for future African-American candidates emerging in the South.

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