(FOX 11) - It’s been said that it's hard to hate up close. Perhaps after watching this story, you might agree.
Daryl Davis, an African-American man, has made it his mission in life to change the hateful ideology of members of the KKK by simply engaging them in conversation.
In the last 30 years, 200 members have left the Klan as direct result of Daryl's involvement.
Here’s some of what Daryl Davis had to say to Gina Silva.
D: I went there initially with the quest to find the answer to my question. How can you hate me, when you don’t even know me? But in that interaction, I began to humanize them and they began to humanize me. Some, I won’t say all, are people with many good qualities but a twisted sense of history and self importance or supremacy.
G: How can you talk with someone who calls you the N-word?
D: Because you take the higher road. You know who you are, they don’t define who you are.
G: What do you think about the current tension in America?
D: The culture of racism existed long before Donald Trump and before President Obama and long before Bush or Clinton or whomever. We American citizens are to blame for fostering that culture of racism. Talking about race in this country has been taboo for a very long time. People don’t want to talk about it.
G: But people are always talking about racism in one way or another.
D: People only talk to those who feel the same way they do. So you continue preaching to the choir. What does that solve? The choir feels the same way you do. You’ve gotta convince that person over there.
G: Have you had a negative reaction from the African-American community?
D: I’ve been called Uncle Tom, Uncle Ruckus and Oreo, all kinds of derogatory names. But if you learn the backstory, you might feel differently.
G: Racism… will it ever really go away?
D: Progress is made when you give somebody a platform where they can express their views even if you don’t agree with them. 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.
G: If there is one thing you want people to get, what is it?
D: That People can change and we need to reach across the table and experience somebody who has different opinions than our own. We can learn from each other and better address the issue.