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Mid-Southerners React to Fist Bump

September 24, 2009

www.myfoxmemphis.com - 23 Sep 2009

by Lauren Johnson

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Mayor Pro Tem's fist bump with the Dalai Lama has been
seen online and on national television. The gesture has received mixed
reviews.

The Mayor Pro Tem has been under fire for extending his fist, instead of an
open hand, to the Dalai Lama. But, Lowery says he was given the green light
to approach his Holiness with his own twist. A day later, everyone is
talking about it, and has their thoughts.

When asked, "Sheila, if someone does this to you, what do you do back?"
Sheila Massey answers "Look at them like they crazy 'cause I'm too old for
that."

When asked "has anyone ever done it to you before?" Zach Clark says "Yeah."
And what do you do back, if someone holds their hands out like that to you?
"I mean you can't reject them, you gotta give it back to them," says Clark.

So when Memphis Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery threw the pound at the Dalai
Lama, not once, or twice, but three times, people started talking.

"But that, naw," says Massey.

Robert Lathon says "my thought was that initially it shouldn't have been a
fist bump."

Clark says "it's not respectful."

Political science professor Michael Armour says the gesture could have been
political posturing since Lowery is a contender in the highly sought after
mayor's seat.

Micheal Armour, political science professor at the University of Memphis,
says "one side is going to use whatever they can to make an issue because
that's part of politics."

In the words of a literary icon, Armour calls the incident much ado about
nothing. He says since Lowery was donning the prayer shawl, he paid his
respects in that way.

"It was not the formal handshake, but it showed informality, and in many
ways, Asians appreciate that," says Armour.

"I think it was a comparison to Obama's fist bump," says Lathon.

Last year, on the campaign trail, President Barack Obama was seen fist
bumping with First Lady Michelle.

Lathon says "culturally, for us, as African Americans, it worked. For him,
being the Dalai Lama, I think it was out of context."

"Me personally, I just like the good handshake," says Clark. "I think its a
little more respectful."
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