Oppression is not merely cruel or criminal or pathetic; it is tragic. It enjoins the fate of the oppressor to the fate of his oppressed. It damages them mutually, crippling the master and denaturing the slave.

The consequences of our recent slaveowning past on American Whites is a little studied thing, yet the evidence of damage is everywhere to be seen. We are an Epstein Bar Virus sort of people; washed out, languid, exhausted, afraid, skeptical, and cowardly. What do you make of well-off white people dying of boredom and purposelessness in a world so obviously in need of determination, and courage? Who can explain the intense ambition, conflict, and drama we give to the thousands of villages in this land, called "companies" and "corporations," contrasted by our passive, aloof, skeptical attitude toward our living environment, neighborhood, city, our nation? If you think it's wealth, or greed, or some such thing, you are ignorant. It is not money. Our secretaries, managers, vice presidents, and chief executive officers are not ambitious for mere wealth; achievement itself, progress itself, is of enormous value to these people. Within the scope of their vision, the determination of working people is breathtaking. But what has curtailed the scope of our vision? What has enfeebled our competence, relegating it strictly to these insulated villages? What has castrated our heroism, reducing it to a state of disability in the open air, in the public sphere, in politics, and in the community?