Race relations expert Daryl Davis joins Mindrolling to share the incredible story of his work engaging with Ku Klux Klan members and bringing down their walls of ignorance and fear.
Daryl Davis is a musician, bandleader, actor, author, and race relations expert. He is well known for his work with engaging Ku Klux Klan members, many of whom wind up leaving and denouncing the KKK. Learn more about Daryl and all of his work at daryldavis.com.
We All Want the Same Things
Raghu welcomes Daryl to the show, and asks about his experience with racism while growing up. Daryl talks about his need to understand racism, and how people could hate him without even knowing him. Raghu and Daryl discuss police brutality, and how the bad apples are spoiling the bunch.
“I’ve come to find out that no matter how far I’ve gone to the other side of the planet, or right next door, and no matter how many different people or cultures I’ve encountered, when I get home, I conclude one thing – we all are human beings. And we all want basically the same four or five things: We want to be loved, we want to be respected, we want to be treated fairly, we want to be heard, and we want the same things for our family as anybody else wants for theirs. And as long as we can understand those wants, we can navigate through pretty much any society, including the Ku Klux Klan.” – Daryl Davis
Ignorance Breeds Fear, Fear Breeds Hate (18:30)
Daryl shares the incredible story of his initial encounter with the Grand Dragon of the Maryland Ku Klux Klan. He talks about a moment from the meeting where ignorance nearly took hold on both sides, and explores the cycle of ignorance and fear.
“The lesson taught is ignorance breeds fear. We fear the things we don’t understand. If we do not keep that fear in check, that fear, in turn, will escalate and breed hatred. Because we hate the things that frighten us. And if we don’t keep that hatred in check, that escalates into anger and breeds destruction. Because we want to destroy the things that we hate.” – Daryl Davis
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Bringing Down the Walls (36:35)
Raghu and Daryl discuss more about the initial encounter, including how Daryl was instrumental in bringing down the walls of hatred and fear that the KKK member was hiding behind. Daryl brings up his growing concern over how white supremacists are reacting to white people becoming a minority in America in the near future.
“I never set out to convert the Klan, that was not my mission. My mission was simply to find out, ‘How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?’ That’s all I want to know. I never dreamed these people were going to change.” – Daryl Davis