What's The Matter With Alabama

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

I'm taking a wait and see approach with this idea that upwards of 70 percent of Southern whites don't believe Obama is a citizen. This is a case, where, I think, either side could be right. Given my current reading, it really wouldn't shock me if the numbers bore this out. But my experience with opinion polling tells me to take a wait and see approach.

There probably is something to be said about birthers in general, and the fact that, even if the 70 percent number is high, the belief seems to be pretty concentrated in the South. I'll be writing later this week about the weight of white supremacy on white Southeners, and the problems of trying to erect a populist aristocracy. Obviously, essential to that is class of peons. With that backdrop, I can understand why a disproportionate number of white Southerners (if not 70 percent) can't seem to accept what's happened. The peon is king. What does that make you?

UPDATE: From comments, more data coming in--only 32 percent of white Virginia Republicans believe Obama is a citizen.

Also a note on the populist aristocracy. I was trying to craft a term to sum up the dreams of white supremacy. I think the basic aim is to offer a kind of nobility (literally) to all white people, on the basis of skin. The way that nobility is demonstrated is through power over a peasant (?) class--blacks. Bear with me. I'm working my way through it.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2009/08/whats-the-matter-with-alabama/22602/