“I think it might be useful, in order to survive our present crisis, to do what any individual does, is forced to do, to survive his crisis, which is to look back on his beginnings. . . .In this extraordinary endeavor to create the country called America, a great many crimes were committed. And I want to make it absolutely clear, or as clear as I can, that I understand perfectly well that crime is universal, and as old as mankind, and I trust, therefore, that no one will assume that I am indicting or accusing. . .People treat each other very badly and always have and very probably always will. I’m not talking about the crime; I’m talking about denying what one does. This is a much more sinister matter.”
James Baldwin, “The White Problem” (1964), in James Baldwin, The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings, ed. Randall Kenan (New York: Pantheon Books, 2010), 74-75.