This is from “No Name in the Street” (1972) by James Baldwin. It seems as true to me now as the day when I first read it years ago:
White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded – about themselves and about the world they live in. White people have managed to get through entire lifetimes in this euphoric state, but black people have not been so lucky: a black man who sees the world the way John Wayne, for example, sees it would not be an eccentric patriot, but a raving maniac. … People who cling to their delusions find it difficult, if not impossible, to learn anything worth learning: a people under the necessity of creating themselves must examine everything, and soak up learning the way the roots of a tree soak up water. As people still held in bondage must believe that “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make ye free”.