In an interview at Slate yesterday, Isaac Chotiner asks Ta-Nehisi Coates if it's possible to see Dylann Roof as "a victim of history from the other side." Coates says that he thinks it's entirely possible to look at Roof in that light, and then explains what he means:
Dylann Roof is not the only person who bears responsibility. The Confederate flag represents an attempt to perpetrate a lie about American history, to bury the fact that half this country thought it was a good idea to raise an empire rooted in slavery. That is a part of our history. When you bury that history other people take control of it and use the flag for their purposes, and to ennoble their own hatred. Putting off the discussion allows the narrative of white supremacy.
And I note this today, of course, because what Coates says here dovetails, it seem to me, with what I said earlier today about the Confederate flag.
The photo of Ta-Nehisi Coates delivering the keynote address at University of Virginia's 2015 Martin Luther King celebration is by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, and has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for sharing.