[Sixth National Conference of Friends on Race Relations Booklet] Page: 4 of 16
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We claim no special Quaker insights clear enough to set the great movement for human rights
on some new course, nor can we say that the Religious Society of Friends, still so nearly an all-
white group in America, is prepared to meet this profoundly troubling challenge. But as we begin
to learn how much we don't even know that we don't know, we see at least that future action
must be based on a willingness to work for social changes much more far-reaching than we had
supposed the correction of racial injustice would require.
We are far from belittling what Friends are already doing to overcome the effects of prejudice
on many fronts. We need more Friends personally involved in what is, after all, more a white
than a minority problem. We need to develop more sensitivity to the subtler forms of discrim-
ination and injustice, we need to work with church and other groups on many problems of oppor-
tunity denied the individual because of his race or color or culture.
But we need to be attacking these too-familiar civil rights problems in the light of a new
awareness. It becomes increasingly clear that our existing social-economic-political-legal-
military system-the framework within which the white establishment operates-simply cannot
be patched up in such a way as to end exploitation and degradation. The changes called for-we
are only partly aware of what they must be-will be so great as to constitute a social revolution.
Some of the traditional values and concepts we, along with other Americans, hold most firmly-
the moral necessity of labor, the nature of property rights-will have to be rethought. We must
be prepared to discover how much we ourselves, sharing in and profiting from the operation of
this system, are contributing to the power which maintains the very practices we are fighting
We do have faith that there is a way for love instead of hate, for inclusiveness rather than
exclusiveness, for brotherhood instead of apartheid, to prevail in the end as the spirit of our land.
But we shall be able to bring this about only through commitment to a vision of a different social
order-a society in which power and responsibility are shared willingly, in which our special
privileges are surrendered, in which every man, in all the magnificent variety which God has be-
stowed, is fully acceptedI as equal.
To such leadings, to such commitment, we ask God to open our minds and hearts.
Here’s what’s next.
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[Sixth National Conference of Friends on Race Relations Booklet], text, July 1967; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth595342/m1/4/: accessed April 8, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Southern University.