Daryl Davis


Link: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/mar/18/daryl-davis-black-musician-who-converts-ku-klux-klan-members Archived: http://archive.today/ZKW3u Daryl Davis: the black musician who converts Ku Klux Klan members archived 17 Aug 2020 06:57:25 UTC

Excerpts and Quotes

“In 1968, when I was the age of 10, I had a racist incident,” Davis recalls with conviction, his voice sonorous and unwavering. “I was in the Cub Scouts and we were in a parade when people started throwing rocks and things at me. I didn’t understand why people would do that and I formed a question: ‘How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?’”

The best thing you do is you study up on the subject as much as you can. I went in armed, not with a weapon, but with knowledge. I knew as much about the Klan, if not more than many of the Klan people that I interviewed. When they see that you know about their organization, their belief system, they respect you. Whether they like you or not, they respect the fact that you’ve done your homework. Just like any good salesman, you want a return visit and they recognized that I’d done my homework, which allowed me to come back again.

That began to chip away at their ideology because when two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. It’s when the talking ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. If you spend five minutes with your worst enemy — it doesn’t have to be about race, it could be about anything…you will find that you both have something in common. As you build upon those commonalities, you’re forming a relationship and as you build about that relationship, you’re forming a friendship. That’s what would happen. I didn’t convert anybody. They saw the light and converted themselves.

“We’ve got to treat it down to the bone, which is ignorance. The cure for ignorance is education. You fix the ignorance, there’s nothing to fear. If there’s nothing to fear, there’s nothing to hate. If there’s nothing to hate, there’s nothing or no one to destroy.”

Italics and emboldening by me