I think this is largely a fair critique of Coates, but let’s be honest, the “white working class can’t be that bad” meme boils down to “white people can’t be that horrible.” It is interesting that elite white pundits and journalists have fallen victim to this a lot, probably for many reasons. Overcompensation, for one. But ultimately this sort of thinking ends with putting two traitors who killed many thousands of U.S. soldiers on a goddamn U.S. coin. We’ve done this before is all I’m saying.

It’s also always struck me as odd that “middle America” is always given the connotation of being hardworking, decent, morally upright (and, invariably, white). I mean, we can blame everything on the South if you like (and in some cases it’s merited–my wife recently told me all about the many horrors of modern-day Alabama from her education studies), but it wasn’t Brown v. The School Board of Arkansas, and if you’re looking for that pure, untouched America that never failed to live up to its stated ideals, it’s just as bad a place as any to try to find it.

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