J.D. Vance: White Nationalists Not Just ‘Knuckle-Dragging Slack-Jawed Yokels’


Author J.D. Vance went on CBS This Morning to talk about misconceptions regarding the white supremacists who took part in the Charlottesville violence over the weekend, that they aren’t stupid, but actually well-educated, well-off individuals who still choose to act like this.

“The alt-right movement, this neo-nazi movement, is actually driven by well-to-do, middle-class folks; people who have a good education. In some ways that’s perfectly highlighted by the organizer of the rally yesterday, who went to the University of Virginia, one of the nation’s great universities. It’s very tempting, I think, and comforting, to try to stereotype these white nationalist as a bunch of knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed yokels, but the truth is these are kids who are doing pretty well and are still attracted to this stuff.”

Vance is the author of the book Hillbilly Elegy, which talks about his life going from living in Kentucky’s Appalachia region to graduating from Yale Law School. Still, Vance reveals the class system was not easy for him and his family, who struggled with adjusting from poverty in Appalachia, to middle-class in Ohio. Vance wrote the book to describe the treacherous path of upward mobility and to bring awareness of the lack of the American dream in places like this.

Now Vance attacks the “hillbilly” stigma in interviews like this one, as well as on Twitter.

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