This is more than just a conspiracy,” Peniel added. “I think this is fundamentally connected to white supremacism in this country.”
Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. in early April called for the connection to be publicly drawn between birthers and racism: “So it is time to call this birther nonsense what it is–not just claptrap, but profoundly racist claptrap.”
And columnist Michael Tomasky wrote for The Guardian Wednesday that the birther conspiracy “had to be the only explanation for how this black man got to the White House.” He added: “And if you think race isn’t what this is about at its core, ask yourself if there would even be a birther conspiracy if Barack Obama were white and named Bart Oberstar. If you think there would be, you are delusional.”
In a similar vein, Rev. Jesse Jackson told Politico yesterday that Donald Trump’s campaign to get Obama to release his birth certificate is deeply rooted in race.
“Any discussion of [Obama’s] birthplace is a code word,” Jackson said. “It calls upon ancient racial fears.” Jackson later added that, in his view, Trump “is now tapping into code-word fears that go far beyond a rational discourse.”