‘Accidental Courtesy’ is a recent release documentary featuring African-American musician, speaker and activist, Daryl Davis.
Davis explores the possibility of change through dialogue and relationship. In the documentary we see and hear about how he actively sought out members of the Klu-Klux-Klan in order to ask them one on one, why, because of the colour of his skin, he was hated so much. Especially since they didn’t know him nor had they ever met him. Throughout the process, documented over a series of years, Davis presents the outcome.
He found himself becoming friends with some members of the Klu-Klux-Klan. Developing an understanding about the reasons for why a person might hold a racist view in light of the civil rights gains for African-Americans that have been made since the 1950’s.
This relationship, first formed by mutual respect resulted in a turnaround for those he’d made an effort to get to know. Whilst there is obvious evidence of this radical change, Davis is not afraid to highlight the fact that many remain ardently affected by the ideology they serve.
On the other side of the issues, Davis includes an exchange between himself and Black Lives Matter representatives, who despite the evidence and without allowing him to respond, passionately oppose his approach, claiming that no one can change, especially not a white racist.
After watching Davis’ documentary, I looked at my wife and immediately said to her that we need to add this to our watch list. I’ve since packed it into our resources for the key learning area we Aussies call, HSIE: Human Society and Its Environment, and last week I walked our homeschoolers through the issues presented by Davis.
I should also add, that our homeschoolers were already very aware of the importance of Martin Luther King Jnr. and the civil rights movement. The documentary helped to educate them on areas, such as the existence of the Klu-Klux-Klan, and the claims, reasons and issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
As part of bolstering the learning outcomes associated with ‘Accidental Courtesy‘, I have had two of my three high schoolers write a review and response. Daryl is also receiving flak for his outreach, by posting these reviews I hope to suggest to his critics that this documentary goes further in inspiring and educating than might be thought otherwise. The following review is the first of these two reviews:
Daryl Davis is a musician and a lecturer. In “Accidental Courtesy” he talks about racism and how Martin Luther King Jr. wanted the blacks and whites to live together instead of separating the people by the colour of their skin, which helps different groups to put each other down and beat each other up.
Daryl Davis talked about racism in America. Some police officers there have been abusing their power and are beating up black people because of their colour. For example: an African-American teenage boy was arrested and the police ignored his requests for an ambulance. The teenager died, in jail, the day after he was arrested.
In America there are groups of people called the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), that hate black people. They are known for burning crosses on black people’s lawns and throwing rocks at their windows which sometimes have hateful messages tied on them. Some Klans make out that God wants white people to rule and own America for themselves.
Daryl Davis is amazing; he has talked to many members of the KKK. Some of them, after they have talked to him, left the Klan. He has around 25-26 Klan member uniforms from the people who left. He also went to talk with a couple of African-American members from the Black Lives Matter group. One of them didn’t like where the conversation was going so he got up to leave and wouldn’t shake Daryl’s hand, then soon the other one left. He tried to talk to another man, but the man just swore at Davis and left. I think after that he felt very discouraged because they didn’t even give him a chance to talk at all about what he’s learned.
In conclusion, I think Daryl Davis is doing a good thing for America. It’s sad to know that people can’t get along, because someone’s skin is different to theirs. Martin Luther King Jr. would most likely have agreed to what Daryl Davis was doing to help America because Martin Luther King believed in removing the distinction between black and white. Those Klans are wrong!!! God wants us to love one another and get along with each other no matter what our skin colour, or disabilities. God made all of us and we are all the same on the inside no matter what the colour of our skin is. We need to learn to love people who look different to us, because everyone has a life that needs to be loved.To me there is no difference between black or white people.
(C.Lampard, Yr 7 20th March 2017)
Davis, D. 2016 ‘Accidental Courtesy’
Disclaimer: We received no payment of any kind for this review.