Daryl Davis, a musician who befriends KKK members in the US, tells us where we are going wrong with healing racism
People make the mistake of forming anti-racist groups that are rendered ineffective from the start because they ONLY invite those who share their beliefs to their meetings. Here’s some tips on reaching out to those who are racist:
* Provide a safe neutral meeting place.
* Learn as much as you can about the ideology of a racist, or perceived racist in your area.
* Invite that person to meet with your group.
VERY IMPORTANT — LISTEN to that person. What is his/her primary concern? Place yourself in their shoes. What would you do to address their concern if it were you?
* Ask questions, but keep calm in the face of their loud, boisterous posture if that is on display, don’t combat it with the same
While you are actively learning about someone else, realize that you are passively teaching them about yourself. Be honest and respectful to them, regardless of how offensive you may find them. You can let them know your disagreement but not in an offensive manner.
* Don’t be afraid to invite someone with a different opinion to your table. If everyone in your group agrees with one another and you shun those who don’t agree, how will anything ever change? You are doing nothing more than preaching to the choir.
When two enemies are talking, they are not fighting, they are talking. They may be yelling and screaming and pounding their fist on the table in disagreement to drive home their point, but at least they are talking. It is when the talking ceases, that the ground becomes fertile for violence. So, KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING.
Originally published at Focallocal.