Where there is darkness crimes will be committed. The guilty one is not merely he who commits a crime but he who caused the darkness.
--Dr. Martin Luther King, 1967
This, to me, is the subtext for President Obama's remarks yesterday:
Now, this isn’t to say that the African-American community is naïve about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.
We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.I wish we lived in a society in which the President could be even more direct. Even as he made the problems and responsibilities of Black Americans explicit, the complicity of Whites was only implicitly acknowledged. I am grateful the President said what he did and I think it is enormously positive, but he still had to employ a double standard to prevent Whites from freaking out.