“Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”

by Isaiah Webster III


So here’s the thing: A white bigot commits an act of terrorism against the people of South Carolina, killing 9 Americans. In response, he wasn’t choked on a sidewalk or shot in the back — he was arrested peacefully. Meanwhile, other bigots — on racist cable networks — debate whether or not he committed a “hate crime.” Trying to figure out why a bigot did what bigots do, is pointless. It also absolves us of the role we’ve all played in this senseless tragedy.

Our president reminded us that we remain the only advanced nation with such uncontrolled gun violence. We ignore him, just as we have every other time he’s pleaded with us to come to our senses. As the state flag of South Carolina, the confederate flag still flies atop the state capitol. A flag that is the very symbol of racism and hate. Yet we are surprised that in such a state, a white man so freely enters a historic Black church and kills innocent Black people?

We allow police to administer justice without equity. We allow guns to proliferate. We allow symbols of hate to stand. And when challenged about our collective failings, we fight amongst ourselves — as Democrats or Republicans or Blacks or Whites or Cops or Politicians or Whatever. This is the society we have created for ourselves, and actually, it’s the greatest hate crime of them all.

As Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”