Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America


“If you and I agree that racism is bad, I’m not accomplishing anything by trying to convince you of what you already know. The way you resolve that is you invite somebody to the table who disagrees with you so you’ll understand why they have that point of view. Once you understand that, then perhaps you would figure out a solution to dissuade their fears.” – Daryl Davis

“Accidental Courtesy” is a documentary that follows musician Daryl Davis as he journeys through the U.S. to share his quest for knowledge about the Ku Klux Klan, one of the most notorious white separatist hate groups in the country. From a chance encounter after a performance, to eventual sit-down conversations with members of the KKK, Davis strives to have one question answered: “How can you hate me if you don’t even know me?”

As the son of a diplomat and as a musician for notable artists such as Chuck Berry and Percy Sledge, Davis – who is African-American – gained greater notoriety for his work by placing himself in the belly of the beast. The film shows Davis visiting colleges to talk about his experiences with the KKK, and he shares notable moments in Black history in the U.S., aligning that history with that of the Klan. As Davis tours the nation, each conversation had with KKK members to Black Lives Matters activists, will have you glued to your screen.

Even more endearing in the oddest of ways, he developed sincere friendships with members of the KKK, some of whom left the organization and turned over their robes to Davis, adding to his collection of KKK “memorabilia”. Davis’ view is that understanding is the way to catalyze change, and through his attempts, the film will have you scratching your head and experiencing contradicting emotions as you watch Davis make a bold case for tolerance and understanding.

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