I know when I walk into a Harlem funeral parlor and see a dead boy lying there. I know, no matter what the social scientists say, or the liberals say, that it is extremely unlikely that he would be in the grave so soon if he were not born black. That is a terrible thing to say. But, if it is so, then the people who are responsible for this are in a terrible condition. Please take note. I’m not interested in anybody’s guilt. Guilt is a luxury that we can no longer afford. I know you didn’t do it, and I didn’t do it either, but I am responsible for it because I am a man and citizen of this country and you are responsible for it, too, for the very same reason: As long as my children face the future that they face, and come to the ruin that they come to, your children are very greatly in danger, too.
James Baldwin, Words of a Native Son. Playboy Magazine, December 1964.