Black Musician, Former Imperial Wizard of the KKK, and Great Friends

Image of Daryl Davis on the TEDxNaperville stage
Image of Daryl Davis on the TEDxNaperville stage
Daryl Davis on the TEDxNaperville stage
Image of Daryl Davis with Robert White’s police uniform
Image of Daryl Davis with Robert White’s police uniform
Daryl Davis with Robert White’s police uniform

It was inconceivable to me that someone who had never laid eyes on me, never spoke to me, knew absolutely nothing about me would want to inflict pain upon me for no other reason than this: the color of my skin…I don’t know why people felt that way, but I realized that there are some people who did…How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?

Ignorance breeds fear. We fear those things we do not understand. If we do not keep that fear in check, that fear, in turn, will bread hatred…If we do not keep that hatred in check, that hatred, in turn, will breed destruction. We want to destroy those things that we hate. Why? Because they cause us to be afraid but guess what? They may have been harmless, and we were just ignorant.

…if we don’t know our history, if we cannot trace the past into the present, we cannot explain current conditions in ways that are transformative rather than victim-blaming…these struggles are never separated from the present. At the same time, a piece of white fragility is that white people are not taught their history.

Daryl Davis with Robert White’s KKK uniform (Grand Dragon of Maryland)
Daryl Davis with Robert White’s KKK uniform (Grand Dragon of Maryland)
Daryl Davis with Robert White’s KKK uniform (Grand Dragon of Maryland)

Take the time to sit down and talk with your adversaries. You will learn something, and they will learn something from you. When two enemies are talking, they’re not fighting. They’re talking. It’s when the talking ceases that the ground becomes fertile for violence. So, keep the conversation going.

Endnotes

References

About the author

Written by

Gary is a speaker, author, researcher, and leadership futurist. https://www.garyadepaul.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store