“A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology looked into this phenomenon. They studied the tension between Palestinians and Israelis, as well as Mexican immigrants and white Arizonians.
What they found was that when individuals were given a chance to share their stories and experiences with people from the other side, it helped improve their attitude about the “opposing group.” This effect was even stronger when it was a member of the “disempowered group” being heard by someone from the “dominant group.”
This is no surprise to me. It’s fundamental to the Quaker decision-making process that everyone should have a chance to speak and be heard respectfully. This is why the Quaker process, while occasionally slow and difficult, is so successful at reaching conclusions that everyone can live with.
This principle is apparently not so obvious to many of the people who hold power in the world, though.