Maps of the Day: Webb Stirs Up a WASP Nest

By Patrick Ottenhoff

Never one to back down from a fight, Jim Webb published an interesting column in the Wall Street Journal on Friday challenging the "myth of white privilege." The article was timed to hit at the crest of discussion about race sparked by the Sherrod episode.

Webb's major point was that the affirmative action system designed to lift African Americans and other racial minorities out of the legacy of Jim Crow has evolved into a system that often discriminates against poor whites.

He pointed to the fact that many poor white Southerners, whose ancestors were unlikely to have owned slaves, face the same plague of poverty, incarceration, and illiteracy that afflicts many minority populations.

A southern Baptist, he argued, should not be considered the same as a Connecticut congregationalist, even though both are WASPs.

Indeed, he is correct in his point that a Baptist from Tupelo, a Mormon from Provo, a Dutch reformed from Grand Rapids, and a Lutheran from Lake Woebegone -- not to mention an Italian Catholic from Waterbury -- share very different experiences.

To examine Webb's point, I posted three maps below. The first is church affiliation by counties; the second is white population by density; and the third is wealth in 1870.

Church Affiliations

White Population Density

Wealth by County in 1870

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/maps-of-the-day-webb-stirs-up-a-wasp-nest/60423/