By Bryan Hyde

Commentary -- If we’re serious about promoting racial harmony, here’s an example we might consider following. 


Blues musician Daryl Davis has persuaded no less than 200 individuals to leave the Ku Klux Klan.

One or two might have been an aberration. Scores of successes represents a lesson for anyone who is paying attention.

He didn’t do it by violently protesting in the streets. He didn’t go around assaulting or threatening other people or shouting them down and trying to prevent them from speaking.

Davis convinced these former Klan members to abandon their ideology by befriending them.

Once they got to know him, they found that they simply could not hold on to their hatred any longer.

Thomas Sullivan/Townsquare of the Hudson Valley
Thomas Sullivan/Townsquare of the Hudson Valley

Davis didn’t set out to reform these men; he started by simply asking the question, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” 

Such a question requires a combination of courage, humility and a desire to build rather than tear down.

Davis gave them a chance to get to know him personally, and most importantly, he treated them the way he would want to be treated. 

When a black man can win over 200 of the supposedly most uncompromising racists around, doesn’t that speak to the power of his approach?.

Resisting the temptation to dehumanize them for their beliefs, he instead helped them to see him as an individual and became humanized in their eyes. 

There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.

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