Prof Barkan’s New York Times Letter to the Editor

On 9.27.17 Professor Steven Barkan had a letter to the editor printed in the New York Times.

To the Editor:

In her otherwise insightful column on minority rule and the Electoral College, Michelle Goldberg contrasts an America that is “urban, diverse and outward-looking” with one that is “white, provincial and culturally revanchist.” This latter description of rural America paints with too broad a brush.

The northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are all very white and very rural. Yet all three states voted for Hillary Clinton last year and for Barack Obama in his two elections. Here in Maine we have a long tradition of electing thoughtful senators regardless of party, as our current senators, Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, illustrate.

Race and urban/rural residence certainly matter for many beliefs, but so does region. Northern New England shows that it is possible to be white and rural and at the same time open-minded, outward-looking, and, yes, even urbane.


The writer is a professor of sociology at the University of Maine.