Daryl Davis Sets An Example For How We Should Interact With People That We Don't Understand
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Politics and Activism

Daryl Davis Sets An Example For How We Should Interact With People That We Don't Understand

You cannot deny that there is something admirable in his actions to use the simple tool of listening and talking to try to end racial discourse.

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Daryl Davis Sets An Example For How We Should Interact With People That We Don't Understand
usembassyta / Flickr

If the name Daryl Davis doesn't ring a bell, don't worry. He is a musician, actor, and author. He is talented, but what you should really know him is unconventional ways to bridge racial tension. Daryl Davis is an African American man who attended KKK rallies to seek out and befriend Klansmen.

You read that right and I first came familiar with his unconventional diplomacy in the 2016 documentary Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America. He also gave a TEDx talk this past December talking about his experience.

Now a little back story on Daryl Davis was that he was born in Chicago and the son of a Department of State Foreign State Service Officer. As a result of his father's profession, he traveled all over and became used to embracing other cultures and diversity. So he never faced or knew what racism until the age of 10. There was an incident and his parents explained to him what racism was. He didn't believe it or understand how could somebody hate him for the color of his skin.

So he became driven by the question, "How can you hate me if you don't even know me?" He essentially went on a journey to find the answer to his question. When he didn't find it in books, other people, he decided to ask the people who joined organizations grounded in hate. So he set up a meeting with the Grand Dragon KKK member of Maryland, Roger Kelly. Surprising enough, the two formed a friendship and their friendship made Kelly revaluate his position. Kelly ultimately left the Klan and gave his robe to Davis.

I share this because Davis's way of determining the cause of hate led him to talk to people who think him inferior for the color of his skin. He used the simple tool of conversation and listening. I understand that this is hard to understand. Why would he do this? Is it really beneficial?

But regardless of how you view his actions and measure his success in dismantling racism, you cannot deny that there is something admirable in his actions to use the simple tool of listening and talking to try to end racial discourse. It has worked at small doses, but it works. Maybe its something should we try in our daily lives. I don't mean seek out KKK members, but when you disagree with somebody try to understand their opposing view instead of talking down to them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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