Black Voices

Boston Bombing Suspect Race: Were You Relieved? (TELL US)

Items and crosses decorate a makeshift memorial April 20, 2013 on Boylston Street, near the scene of Boston Marathon explosions as people get back to the normal life the morning after after the capture of the second of two suspects wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings. Thousands of heavily armed police staged an intense manhunt Friday for a Chechen teenager suspected in the Boston marathon bombings with his brother, who was killed in a shootout. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, defied the massive force after his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan was shot and suffered critical injuries from explosives believed to have been strapped to his body. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Items and crosses decorate a makeshift memorial April 20, 2013 on Boylston Street, near the scene of Boston Marathon explosions as people get back to the normal life the morning after after the capture of the second of two suspects wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings. Thousands of heavily armed police staged an intense manhunt Friday for a Chechen teenager suspected in the Boston marathon bombings with his brother, who was killed in a shootout. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, defied the massive force after his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan was shot and suffered critical injuries from explosives believed to have been strapped to his body. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

In the wake of this tragedy, as the authorities were still trying to find the right suspects, there was a lot of interesting dialogue about the race and ethnicity of the attacker. There were speculations on the ethnicity of the bombers that sparked an outcry from the public.

While this country has a long history of racialized speculations from the media, we also have a long history of speculations in our own community. As a community, we've often suffered from persecution due to misdeeds committed by a small portion of black people. Whenever a major crime takes place, many of us find ourselves hoping, even praying, that the suspect isn't identified as black. One Harvard professor, many years ago, called this phenonemon "collective guilt."

As a country, we were all relieved when the suspects were identified and eventually brought into custody, but our community, in particular, seemed just as relieved that the suspect was not Black.

We took to our Twitter family this week, to talk about this collective anxiety and its often just as visceral collective relief. Here's what we asked:

Below we rounded up a few thoughts our community shared on the topic. Let us know what you think in the comments. Why do you think this still happens? Do you think collective guilt is something our community will ever get over? Do we still need to carry that kind of anxiety around in 2013?