Rich Benjamin: My road trip through the whitest towns in America
Rich Benjamin - Social observer
The author of "Whitopia," Rich Benjamin sharply observes modern society and politics. Full bio
greet your children by name;
just 20 minutes
and whitest counties in America.
six percent population growth since 2000.
comes from white migrants.
has an ineffable charm,
Whitopias are ticking,
apiece in three of them:
a beautiful town of red rock landscapes.
dispatched families to St. George
of the hot, arid climate.
and the name sticks to this day.
like an anthropologist.
the power brokers in the communities,
where I needed to be,
in these communities.
and Republican clubs.
a home at the Entrada,
premier gated communities.
or Howard Johnsons for me.
and not like a visitor.
symbol of Whitopia.
at least three times a week.
during my trip were on the golf courses.
invited me to golf in his private club
this fellow had to teach me
about the hands that they drew,
about their social beliefs.
salty conversations I ever had
many dinner parties, and in return,
and to their pool parties,
a big issue in this Whitopia.
on Illegal Immigration
is what a hot debate this would become.
and so it has become.
a cabin I rented for myself
North Idaho panhandle.
for myself, also by phone.
Before You Die" lists Coeur d'Alene --
boatmen and fishermen.
came in handy in Coeur d'Alene.
after the L.A. racial unrest,
an expatriated community.
has a strong gun culture.
has more gun dealers than gas stations.
the gentleman behind the counter
my New York City driver's license.
as I thought I might have been.
is the peculiar brand of paranoia
when so many cops and guns are around.
more Confederate flags than black people.
from my hidden lake cabin
the religious arm of Aryan Nations,
retreat during my visit.
I'm aware of ever to have done so.
episodes of that retreat...
sidled up next to me.
Rich, I just want you to know one thing.
We are white separatists.
are neither white supremacists
for explicitly racial reasons at all.
security, safety --
to whiteness in itself.
north of Atlanta.
in this Whitopia
at First Redeemer Church,
that it has golf carts
its many parking lots on campus.
I was more comfortable in this Whitopia
or even a suburban Boston.
historically familiar to one another.
is a push-pull phenomenon,
and alluring pulls,
of conscious and unconscious bias.
not for racist reasons,
density, crowded schools.
privatized places, privatized people,
how a country can have racism
on such a venture.
are affable and kind.
how we treat each other as human beings --
my parents' generation.
to Whitopia 40 years ago?
and educationally segregated today
to cook for each other,
treat each other as communities?
that really hit me
a delightful dinner guest;
my Whitopian journey was the year 2042.
the American majority.
that the more segregation we have,
conscious and unconscious bias.
27,000 mile journey
white people are fleeing,
so much fun on my journey.
so much about myself.
in a Whitopia --
every chance I get.
and megachurches back in Whitopia.
About the speaker:Rich Benjamin - Social observer
The author of "Whitopia," Rich Benjamin sharply observes modern society and politics.
Why you should listen
In his essays, book reviews and other writing, Rich Benjamin gives thoughtful commentary on the changing nature of politics and culture. For his 2009 book Whitopia, he took a 26,909-mile journey through the heart of America's whitest locales, small towns and exurbs where white populations are concentrating as America, meanwhile, becomes ever more diverse. His book asks America to imagine itself in 2042, when whites are no longer the majority. What form will diversity take?
Benjamin is a senior fellow at Demos, a multi-issue think tank, and is just completing a novel on money, loss and heterosexual melancholy.
Rich Benjamin | Speaker | TED.com