America became white. . .because of the necessity of denying the black presence, and justifying black subjugation. No community can be based on such as principle—or, in other words, no community can be established on so genocidal a lie. . .This moral erosion has made it quite possible for those who think of themselves as white in this country to have any moral authority at all—privately or publicly. . . .It is a terrible paradox, but those who believed that they could control and define black people divested themselves of the power to control and define themselves.
James Baldwin, “On Being White. . .and Other Lies” (1984), in The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings, ed. Randall Kenan (New York: Pantheon Books, 2010), 136, 138.