Why is birtherism so tenacious even after contemporary newspaper announcements confirm Barack Obama's origin in Hawaii? Many people dismiss the meme as racism. But even if all birthers were racists and vice versa, that doesn't explain why fully 20 percent of Americans accept the story and almost a quarter are unsure, apparently taking it seriously. In the New York Times Magazine's forthcoming article on Obama's mother, there's a paragraph that may offer a clue to the rumor's tenacity.
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