Archives For racism

‘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.

Here is the promised part two of our reviews of, and responses to, this phenomenal story. Part one can be located here.

Accidental Courtesy

In his documentary called ‘Accidental Courtesy’ Daryl Davis, who is an African American, talks about racism. He knows what it’s like to be oppressed and set apart by others. He has befriended members of the Ku Klux Klan and even though they have different opinions, they respect each other. The KKK is an American post-Civil War secret society who wants white people to have “supreme authority”; its members claim to be Christians, and are known for burning crosses on the front of black people’s houses

Merriam-Webster defines Racism as the ideological belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and the racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. This is something that should not be encouraged. Racism bullies others because of their skin colour. This is similar to the bullying of kids at school. Racism, like a bully, picks on people who are different. It makes them feel powerful and strong.

When members of the KKK met and talked with Daryl Davis, their views of African Americans changed significantly. For example, some of the members have resigned from the KKK and have given him the cloaks and hoods they wore. Daryl has a few dozen of these. He also has badges and accessories. Daryl didn’t intend to help change their hearts and minds, but he’s criticized for interacting with them.

Some African Americans don’t like Daryl Davis for doing this. He met with representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement and they refused to shake his hand or to listen to what he had to say. They stated their opinion to him but chose not to listen to what he had to say.

Daryl Davis also is a musician and lecturer. He plays the keyboard and piano very well. He also goes to colleges and talks about how two people with different views have a conversation. According to him, two people might be yelling, screaming and banging their fists on the table, but “as long as they’re talking, they’re not fighting.”(-Daryl Davis) If both people can discuss their views and opinions with each other then there is a kind of respect between them; Daryl and the people he met from the KKK did this well.

In conclusion, I think that Daryl Davis’ documentary is good. It shows how racism works and how it can be countered. His being open to talk with members of the Ku Klux Klan was a decision he made. I believe that God used Daryl Davis like a messenger to help those members from the KKK to realise that harassing African Americans wasn’t God’s way. I learnt what racism looks like and it isn’t something to be proud of. People should respect each other even if they look different. Everyone should be treated equally and be shown respect. From different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, God made all humans, no matter what race or colour, unique. We shouldn’t resent that, we should accept and embrace it.

Whether a person’s skin is black or white, it doesn’t matter because we’re all created in God’s image. To say otherwise is to create God in our image.

(A.Lampard, Yr 9 23rd March 2017)


Sources:

‘Racism’ Encyclopaedia Britannica

Davis, D. 2016 Accidental Courtesy

Disclaimer: We received no payment of any kind for our response to, or our review of this material.  

‘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:

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Accidental courtesy

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)

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Davis, D. 2016 ‘Accidental Courtesy’ 

Disclaimer: We received no payment of any kind for this review.  

wedge-taled-eagle-aus-flagThe birth date for Australia as a nation is officially Federation Day, where on January 1st, 1901, the states and territories came together as one.

The 26th, “Australia Day”, marks the landing in Botany Bay of the first fleet, which arrived in 1788, filled with British convicts, their wardens and a few settlers. One year before the French Revolution. 14 years after the American war of independence.

They arrived not to fight an organised army or take siege of cities. When they arrived, they saw bushland that went on as far as the horizon. To this enlightenment age people, this land, although sparsely occupied by clans of indigenous Australians, was mostly empty.  Hostility fuelled by misunderstandings and racism, between Europeans and indigenous people came much later on and with it a history that is not as black and white as white vs. black.

There has been an official “sorry” given for wrongs committed towards indigenous Australians, plus a TON of aid and support in both education and other social programs to empower awareness and positive change within indigenous communities.

Today, Australia Day represents the ownership of those wrongs and the long effort to factually acknowledge and correct them. Australia Day also represents the celebration of freedom, God’s blessings, our rich heritage, the land, new citizenship for immigrants and the importance of  indigenous Australians to our nation’s future.img_0948

It’s also a day that reminds us, we are a people still need of THE saviour.

For reconciliation to mature beyond words and gestures, forgiveness must follow that genuine apology. This won’t happen, though, for as long as Leftist elites and their sycophantic allies are allowed to control a skewed narrative and direct the hearts of people through their often biased politics.

Yes, Australia Day does remind us of the negative side to our nation’s history. However, that’s not something to run from, it’s something to be acknowledged; something that leads to Australia Day bringing not just patriotism, but humility; something that should rightly trigger solidarity of suffering, respect and reconciliation.

We aren’t beyond being mature enough, as a people, to hold the right and the wrong in both hands, being able to learn from both, being humbled by its mistakes and using them to empower our future.

To move the date to, May, or make it ”Wattle Day” is to jettison all the benefits that can come from redeeming the past for the present and the future. Effectively taking the negative aspects of this nation’s history and burying it does nothing for progress, unity or reconciliation.

Moving the date or renaming the day will only unnecessarily divide us, ripping from our hands and hearts, the potential to fuse together and be fused together by a solidarity that the Australia Day, as an event, brings and can bring.

We aren’t beyond redeeming the day or the date, because we still stand under the God who redeems, has redeemed, and will redeem.

If you think the day is offensive, don’t reject it. Aim to redeem it.

 ‘…Transgression. Redemption. One island’ – Midnight Oil, One Country.

Happy Australia Day.


Notes:

Artwork credit: Artist TBC, otherwise unknown.

Image: Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, Australia Day, 2017: “A great privilege to be welcomed as part of a traditional smoking ceremony at the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony” (source: Official FB page)

800px-WEB_DuBois_1918The solidarity of suffering is a field of mutuality that lies unexplored. The online activity of the masses, from anonymous activist to celebrity conformist, misses the opportunity to untie the tangled pathos that cements individuals into collectives, and brands them as the possessions of “party-lines.”

Not all human suffering is equal, but all human suffering is equally painful. To exist as if the other has no idea about what suffering is, builds a wall of sand. It’s heavy, unpredictable, unnecessary, divisive and dangerous.

On a microscopic level, take for example, a family with a history filled with pain and suffering. One family member decides to function as though they are the only ones to have suffered. They persist until they’ve effectively painted themselves into a narrative of victimization. To do this the suffering of other family members is ignored, whilst they insert those same family members into a story of sabotage and villainy.

Sympathetic listeners are won over. Without a thought to how deep the actual story goes, one side is exalted and the other demonized. At the cost of the truth, one party signs on more and more members, as the self-serving deception expands. All attempts to counter this by its real victims are quickly neutralised through the consolidation of power by the real villain.

The real victims are denied a voice. Backed into a corner they respond, but their self-defence is pointed at, labelled and used in evidence to support the prevailing narrative of victimization. The narrative of victimization is now so water tight that it requires this one family member to orchestrate new dramas in order to maintain the conflict and retain control of the narrative.

This one family member’s broken throne is secured by the continuation of suffering. Thus, the cycle of abuse continues.

In his 1903 book, ‘The Souls Of Black Folk’, William Edward Burghardt Du Bios reflected on the African-American position, post Proclamation of Emancipation.  One of the statements he made resonated with me:

‘It is a peculiar sensation, always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others […] being measured by amused contempt and pity.’[i]

Although spoken in a specific context about a heavily oppressed group of people. These words speak for a good portion of the population. They almost perfectly describe the feelings of family members who’ve become victims of the narrative of victimization.

From the bullied youth, to the oppressed members of a family, there is a resonance that moves from the suffering of African-Americans out to all the down-trodden. From this resonance comes a basic solidarity of suffering. It’s from here that we arrive at a point, where understanding the pain of others, helps us understand our own.

In recent months we’ve seen the rise of #blacklivesmatter. A cause not without justification, but its presence has always coincided with the caveat from those who’ve read history and heed it. It’s a cause that must have as its inevitable conclusion, #humanlivesmatter.

If it doesn’t, the movement slides into a kind of reverse racism. It fails to mature beyond protest to justice to reconciliation. If this happens, “black lives matter” will inevitably morph into “only black lives matter,” and the positive aspects of the movement’s cause will be lost.

Bitterness, manipulation of the truth and an irresponsible self-defence binds us to toxic power brokers.

Asian, Latino, Indigenous, Black, White; as the Biblical text tells us, human equality before God is that: “all have fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) and “1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. 2. Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” (Mark 12:28-34). Which means that there are groups within groups that have experienced some degree of suffering on one level or another – it means that there can be no attempt to outbid each other with a game of, who has suffered the most at the hands of an oppressor. For example: those of us, who come from housing projects, who’ve been raised on social welfare and who come from highly dysfunctional broken homes, can find some form of solidarity with the long-suffering of our neighbours who come from a similar place, but are different by “race”. This doesn’t deny our neighbour’s suffering, rather it recognises their suffering in our own!

The solidarity of suffering counters racism and replaces it with empathy. It empowers a reasoned turn towards justice, and steers us towards the goal of total racial reconciliation through a dialogue of differences mediated by a recognition of the common ground, such as shared experiences.

From what I’ve read of Du Bios’ early work so far, I think he’d agree.

How do we obtain this? In, through and with Jesus Christ at the head of it.

‘In song and exhortation swelled one refrain—Liberty; in his tears and curses, the God he implored had Freedom in his right hand.’[ii]

What can I learn from this?

My past does not define me. Understand your past, but don’t let it define you, even if others try to keep you living in it.

‘..his own soul rose before him, and he saw himself,[…]to attain his place in the world, he must be himself, and not another.’[iii]

Source:

[i] Du Bios, W.E.B, 1903 ‘The Souls Of Black Folk’ Coterie Classics, Dover Publications

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

Image: wikipedia

1.Thessalonians 5: ‘Since we belong to the day, let us be sober…encourage one another, build one another up, be @ peace among yourselves…pray without ceasing…test everything; hold fast what is good.’ (Paul)