ith each passing year, I grow more convinced that Charles Murray’s Coming Apart and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy represent two of the best vehicles for understanding our times. Though they’re not specifically political, they help us understand the profound differences between different white American communities — differences that are often exacerbated in our polarized age.
Consider, for example, the extraordinary faith gap between white Republicans and white Democrats. According to recent Pew data, fully 72 percent of white Republicans believe in the God of the Bible. Only 32 percent of white Democrats share that same faith. To take another important cultural issue, gun-ownership rates vary wildly between white Americans, with whites in blue America far less likely to have a firearm at home.
Now, what does this have to do with race and condemnations of “whiteness”? Earlier this week, my colleague Reihan Salam wrote a fascinating piece in The Atlantic making the point that white-bashing is actually a way in which the progressive white elite distinguishes itself from “lower” white rivals, a form of “intra-white status jockeying.” Here’s Reihan…