Questions regarding Obama's birth certificate have persisted for more than two years, as the president noted Wednesday at a press conference announcing the release of his long-form birth certificate. A vast array of evidence attests to Obama's citizenship--including a certificate of live birth, signed affidavits from people who viewed Obama's long-form birth certificate, confirmation by Hawaiian officials, and independent investigations by news outlets. Nevertheless, "this thing just keeps going" as Obama said this morning. Even after the White House released the long-form certificate of Obama's birth, birther leader Orly Taitz—who has filed unsuccessful lawsuits seeking to obtain access to Obama's birth certificate—sought to cast doubt on the document's authenticity, suggesting that in 1961, Hawaiian officials would have classified Obama as "Negro" rather than using designation "African," which suggests, in her view, a more contemporary concern for "political correctness."
So what's fueling the dogged questioning of Obama's origins? Many critics of the birther movement say its core tenets--and its stubborn resistance to evidence disproving those beliefs--can be traced to racial hostilities. The fundamental birtherist conviction, these critics say, is that an African-American can't have legitimately won the presidency--and that his elevation to power therefore has to be the result of an elaborate subterfuge.
"There is a real deep-seated and vicious racism at work here in terms of trying to de-legitimate the president," Peniel Joseph, a professor of history at Tufts University, told The Ticket.
"This is more than just a conspiracy," Peniel added. "I think this is fundamentally connected to white supremacism in this country."