Just came across this in the modestly (!) titled “The Transformation: A Guide to the Inevitable Changes in Humankind” by George B. Leonard.
(I wanted to edit out the ‘American’ references, but that would not have been true to this expression and the time it was being expressed and helped me to acknowledge another uncomfortable truth.)
“…the oppressor CAN express his guilt and fear of retaliation.He CAN recognise, through the oppressed, the spontaneity, the joy, even the ability to perceive that he has to hide somewhere in the sterile suburb of his senses. Through pain and recognition, the most profound of learning -that is, significant human change- can take place. In breaking through the many barriers made explicit by race, you break through all barriers to some extent.
It must be said , however, that it rarely happens this openly and directly in this society, for it requires communication on the level of emotions as well as intellect and is impeded by the pervasive rationalisation usually practised by obvious racist and liberal alike. And yet, here in America-bit by bit, willy-nilly-the learning has been taking place. Unfortunately, perceptions are only awakened by explosions and fires, for the cry of the heart cannot reach those who sleep as if drugged. And it is said that laws are needed to insure simple consideration and courtesy. I once asked Martin Luther King Jr. if laws could change the human heart. “Laws can’t change men’s hearts,” he told me, “but they can change men’s behaviour. When the behaviour changes, the hearts may follow.” It may seem a matter of regret that the awakening of perceptions so often increases the expression of prejudice. But feelings must be expressed in some way before they can be dealt with. The mere presence of large and increasingly vocal minorities in this country moves us toward change. Through the rage and fear and confusion, a music of Transformation is rising, blending European, African, Latin American and Oriental, in a peculiarly American way. Sometimes you even hear it on Musak.”