One Black man influences KKK members to give up their robes

Our blogging friend Jill highlights weekly a few people who are shining lights in our world. Typically, these folks fly under the radar screen, as they do what they do to help people, not garner publicity. They are all about substance over optics.

Daryl Davis is one of those people. An African-American man, Davis has a mission to reach out and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan. His goal is to change hearts and minds and he has successfully influenced over 200 members of the KKK to give up their robes, which he collects.

Davis grew up mostly outside the US as his father was in the diplomatic corps. He said his school classes included the children of other diplomats from around the world. So, he was gaining a very open-minded education interacting with others. He notes if grew up here, his education would have been either segregated or pigeonholed limiting interaction with diverse people.

Davis said he did not experience racism until his family moved back to the states. In fact, he did not believe his parents when he learned he was being maltreated because of the color of his skin. He was incredulous that people could be so cruel for such an inane reason.

Davis recognizes that bigotry has to be taught. No one is born hating or demeaning others because they are different from them. Their parents and other adults have to teach kids to be racist  or bigoted. So, he would seek to change those learnings by having open conversation. Per the link below, he says how can someone hate me without even knowing me?

He is an overtly friendly and approachable man. Having seen him laugh, I would say he is cherubic in a St. Nick like way. He does not insult, he asks questions and tells folks what he believes. When a KKK person said they burn the cross to light the way for Jesus, he would say you worship a different Jesus than I do. Jesus lights the way for you.

Through these matter-of-fact discussions, he gets people to think. He has studied the KKK and through reverse examples , he can illustrate the absurdity of certain claims. When he appeared on Bill Maher’s show, he astounded the other guests  into silence just to listen to what he had to say. For the longest while, even the host remained silent, which is rare for him.

Please check out the attached link to learn more about him. “Bigotry has to be carefully taught” says the famous Oscar Hammerstein song from “South Pacific.” The converse is also true. Let’s teach kids and speak with others about being open-minded. It begins with conversation. Thank you Daryl Davis for showing us how. You are to be commended.

19 thoughts on “One Black man influences KKK members to give up their robes

  1. Dear Keith,
    Thank you for this post.

    I have been a fan of Daryl Davis for some time now. There needs to be more like him where people can reach out to others, but not in judgment. You will never reach anyone’s heart by telling them how evil they are, when most truly were raised with this hate in their heart and don’t know better.

    Anything that can be done to break down this wall/ prison of hatred for others for no reason, is a worthwhile endeavor.

    I confess that I have a hard time in reaching out to haters.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, he is an impressive person with an impressive story. There is an art to what he does, which is increasingly rare. The “latent gene” story in the NPR story is priceless and an exemplar. Keith

      • Liquefy bigotry. I like that. Reminds me of what Dorothy did to the Wicked Witch. We will need more pails of water, though.

      • We should send this to Trump:

        “A leader is best
        When people barely know he exists
        Of a good leader, who talks little,
        When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
        They will say, “We did this ourselves.”

        ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

      • This is an excellent poem that speaks volumes. A leadership development consultant wrote similarly – a true leader deflects credit; a bad one assumes credit even when not due. Trump clearly indicates where he stands on this equation – I did this, I am the best, it is other people’s fault.

    • Thanks Jill. I applaud your weekly efforts to tell good stories. What Davis does is exceptional. Very few could walk into the lion’s den and calm the lion.

      • Thanks! It is always uplifting to write those pieces … gives me hope for humanity, which is easy to lose sight of in the everyday jungle we are living in, yes?

      • Jill, the exemplars of good behavior must be highlighted, as the bad behaviors indeed are. You tell your kids, see that man in the White House? Don’t be like that. Keith

  2. Pingback: Daryl Davis Is Still Going Strong | Filosofa's Word

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