Is it time for Black America to Radicalize? (part 2/2)
After a heated exchange in the Netflix documentary ‘Accidental Courtesy,’ Daryl Davis, Kwame Rose and JC Faulk continue their discussion about race in America with TRNN’s Eze Jackson
DARYL DAVIS: There are those who will change, provided you give them the facts and you make them see what’s going on. Because a lot of them, they don’t associate with people like us. They never had any reason to, but when they do they begin thinking. A seed is planted. Okay, and there are others who will go to their grave being hateful, violent, and racist. There’s no changing them.
EZE JACKSON: Which one is your favorite story? Which one would you say is your favorite?
DARYL DAVIS: Oh, gosh. I’ve got a ton of favorite stories. Way too many.
EZE JACKSON: What comes to your mind?
SPEAKER 3: I think it’s interesting, because we talked last week, the guy who shot the gun in Charlottesville, who’s actually from Baltimore, Richard Preston and you know him. Because I think a lot of times, from the documentary you can’t tell your position on the Confederacy, white supremacy. All you can tell is that you’ve been collecting robes and so to people who may not have a conversation with you it comes off as an obsession, as opposed to a purpose.
DARYL DAVIS: Or as somebody said in the documentary, “A fetish”.
SPEAKER 3: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly.
SPEAKER 4: Yeah, now see I think that’s interesting because that was Tariq view, or something. Tariq said, “This a fetish.”
SPEAKER 3: Yeah, but when you explain to me the story of Richard Preston. I think that if you explained that story, I think it resonated. That resonated with me. I was like, “Yo, holy shit Daryl knows this guy and that guy don’t like Daryl because he took all his Klan friends.”
DARYL DAVIS: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, Richard Preston is afraid of me. Richard Preston is one that you would call a coward. The guy in the documentary who was murdered, the Imperial Wizard out in Missouri, he was establishing a Maryland chapter. And he was going to appoint Richard Preston the Grand Dragon which means state leader for that particular Klan organization. While Richard Preston got a little power hungry and kind of got out of line, and he got kicked out of the Klan.
Okay. And so he broke off and formed his own Klan organization, The Confederate Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, whatever. And he appointed himself the Imperial Wizard. So, you’ve got self proclaimed leaders. Alright, and he only has four or five members. And when they had a rally over in Charlottesburg, Maryland at the Confederate battlefield, only four of them showed up and two of them were drunk. Alright, so that doesn’t really constitute an organization.
But anyway, I wanted to meet Richard Preston and I invited him over to my house, and he said he would come. And he didn’t show up. And then I called him again, took me several times to get him and he agreed to meet me in this park up in Baltimore, right outside of Rosedale, and he wanted to meet at midnight. Alright, I agreed to meet him. So, I went up there at midnight, I was in the park, and I saw him drive by in this pickup truck. I’m sitting right there, I see him go by, okay and he didn’t stop. He went around and turned down the street, and went back. So, he never showed up, and I think he might have gotten spooked or whatever. It took me a day and a half to reach him by phone to find out why he didn’t show, and he said that his car wasn’t working, but I saw him drive by. But now he’s in jail awaiting his hearing.
SPEAKER 4: They charged him with terrorism right? Didn’t they? What did they charge him with?
SPEAKER 3: I don’t know.
DARYL DAVIS: Well, I’ll tell you, I don’t know what they charged him with, but he should be charged with several things. One, firing a gun in public. Bringing a gun across state lines, he’s from Maryland. I don’t know if he got the gun down there in Virginia, or he brought it across state line into Virginia and-
SPEAKER 4: Oh man, all those guys brought their guns from where they came from.
SPEAKER 5: There was a whole line of them. You saw them walking with these, man.
SPEAKER 4: Well, when I was down there that’s what I found out. See, when we went down there and … both were with me. When we went down there I was thinking, I don’t know I was under the impression that a lot of these people were from Virginia. And then we got down there and people from Charlottesville we’re telling us, “No, these were outsiders. These people were not from here.” There was a small group that was upset about the bill that was supposed to remove the statues, and the equity bill, and they reached out to a national network. Brought attention to Charlottesville and all those people came in.
Like you were saying earlier, they were walking around with guns. Black Lives Matter, Antifa, they get the rap for being terror, people calling them terrorists, but these were the guys with the guns.
SPEAKER 3: They didn’t win in Charlottesville and they screwed up. Her last name, Heather-
EZE JACKSON: Heyer. Heather Heyer.
SPEAKER 3: Heather Heyer had a cousin who wrote an article after her death, and she said, “It took a white woman to be killed by white supremacists for us to get talking about a conversation about race.” They screwed up when they killed the white woman. And that’s the same woman that Dylann Roof used his ideology to go into a Black church and kill nine Black people. He said, “Y’all are taking our women.” They screwed up when they took a white woman because it touched the hearts of America’s soul.
It touched the soul of America because it was somebody America looked in the face and said, “Wait, we’re dying too over this race,” and in this race war that has been going on and is starting to be re-agitated it got people talking. Not only made American liberals and progressives compassionate but some white supremacists might of went home and they might have been like, “Well who told that idiot to drive in the street with the white women down there with them.” Right? “We was supposed to go drive the van and put them in.” They screwed up.
SPEAKER 5: You also alluded to Trump’s election, right? That Trump’s election, essentially what we get to see right now, is we get to see, so up to now Eric Garner could die, Sandra Bland could die, all these black people were dropping in the streets, right? Philando Castile he gets…
SPEAKER 3: Or Trayvon Martin getting killed by a white supremacist.
SPEAKER 5: Exactly. So, all of this is going on. When it was black people it was no big deal. Now you have white people getting, that now they have this President who doesn’t care about you and we have a system that behind, in the background, it’s never cared about you all. It’s cared about the elite. So now we have this guy that’s willing to say, “We don’t care about you.” And they taking away rights from women. They taking away rights from everyone. And so now, all of these people who thought they were protected because they were white are now getting, “Wait a minute it’s coming after us now. It’s coming after us too.”
And so now we have that woman getting killed down there. That’s like they didn’t care about her. It’s like they’re trying to protect white people but wait a minute, you just murdered a white woman. You murdered what you say you want to protect but it unveiled what’s really behind it. It’s really about them controlling everything and they don’t care about the people for real.
DARYL DAVIS: You both are right. You both are right. We won ideologically, okay. Because like you said, it took a white woman to die. Okay, yeah we won ideologically. You’re right there but here’s the thing. They won in the sense they got what they came for. They wanted that footage to take it. That’s what they want.
SPEAKER 4: They’re using this as-
DARYL DAVIS: That’s propaganda.
SPEAKER 4: And it’s working because-
DARYL DAVIS: But, let me address JC’s point here. One thing they hate more than Black people or Jewish people are what they call race traitors, or white people who betray themselves.
SPEAKER 3: Nigger lovers.
DARYL DAVIS: That woman means nothing to them. She defiled herself by marching with Black Lives Matter. By marching with, same way Kwame felt about me before he knew I wasn’t in the Klan. I had betrayed the Black race. That’s how they feel about the white woman.
SPEAKER 4: There’s a part in the documentary where you’re standing at the rally and until you brought this point up, and made this connection, it always kind of sat weird with me when he says, “I got more respect for this Black man than I do you white niggers.” And I was like, “What’s going on here. Hold up. Hold up.”
SPEAKER 3: Who says this?
SPEAKER 4: Yeah, yeah it was a Klan leader.
DARYL DAVIS: The Imperial Wizard.
SPEAKER 4: I was at a rally, and Daryl was standing…
SPEAKER 5: “I got more respect for this black man, than I do you white niggers.”
SPEAKER 4: Yeah, and I was like, “What is going on right now?”
DARYL DAVIS: And he had the largest Klan organization in Maryland. He had 13 states, and over 200 people in this state, and today he and I are best friends, and I have his robe and hood.
SPEAKER 3: You know what’s interesting, that I hope people take away from this interview is that in the documentary you don’t see us agreeing on anything. But you just told, when you responded to JC’s point, you said, “We won ideologically,” and as we, I mean those of us trying to take down the Confederacy and that’s what wasn’t highlighted in the documentary is that your goal is not different from mine.
DARYL DAVIS: That’s right.
SPEAKER 3: You attack white supremacists by befriending them and getting them to see the humanism in a Black person. While some of us go head on with the institution of white supremacy.
SPEAKER 5: But there’s another piece, though, that I want to drop in. Okay, so for me, that day, and this is just me being really honest and straight. Which I think if I walk away and not say this tonight I will be not, I wouldn’t have integrity.
DARYL DAVIS: That’s what we’re here for.
SPEAKER 5: So for me it felt, in the moment, that you were showing more love to Confederate, to the people who are upholding the Confederacy, and I’ll give you an example, than you were to the black who were in the room, who were on the ground. And we are activists, and we’re fighting for our freedom just as hard as anyone else is. So, for me it felt like you were giving, you were more patient with them. You look at that film, some of the things that they said in front of you that you did not respond to in the same way that you responded to Kwame, made me wonder, “Why is he showing them so much love, and showing them so much patience, and showing them so much empathy, when you’re not showing the oppressed the same kind of empathy.”
So, that’s the part in this conversation that we’ve had tonight I’ve seen some of what’s behind what you do, but in the moment the reason why we responded the way that we did, because there was no love. It felt like there was no love coming from you towards us. When you were saying that a KKK member was your best man at your wedding. One of your best friends was a KKK member, but we weren’t there. And so that’s what made me, in the moment, my radar is pretty good around detecting love of Blackness and I didn’t feel that with you in the moment where, and at the same time I was hearing you talk about how much you respected former KKK members, and you had to do all of this work. And I wondered, “Why is he not doing that work with us?”
DARYL DAVIS: Just point. Absolutely. Just point and let me address that if I can. I know what to expect from the Klan, and white supremacists and neo-Nazis. And even though some of them in the movie I never met before. It was the first time I met some of them. Right on camera, just like the first time I met Kwame. I already know their mentality. I’ve been studying them inside and out. I know as much about their organizations, if not more, than they do. Which is why even though they may not like me, they respect me because of my knowledge about their organizations.
So, I knew what to expect. I know they hate me. I know that they consider me to be inferior. I already expect that when I’m sitting down with them. They think, “Okay, I’m a white person. I’m superior to this lowly nigger.” Or whatever they want to call me in their minds. Alright, I’m expecting that, so I know how to deal with it. I was not expecting people who look like me to not appreciate the work that I was doing on behalf of all of us. I did not realize at the time that nobody here had been informed about what I was doing and why I was doing it.
But later I found out it was a visceral reaction because of the lack of information, and so I felt under attack. Like I said, I knew what to expect from these guys, even though I didn’t know them. I knew where they were coming from. I would have thought that people who look like me would understand especially if they had some advance knowledge. All I knew was the directors and producers said, “Okay, we’re going to go upstairs and have a seat. We’re going to talk to these guys from Black Lives Matter.” “Oh, cool.” You know, we’re all on the same page. Black lives do matter. We’re all trying to work something. And then all of a sudden I felt under attack just like you all felt under attack.
SPEAKER 5: Yes, and the thing from me, with that, is that, so we have a different way of seeing that because for me I felt like you started the attack. So, for me when I was sitting watching Kwame and Tariq I could see the confusion in their faces. They were like, “What? What? What’s going on?” They were hoodwinked. So for me in the moment … so you said you don’t know what to expect from black people, and I want, from us. Okay, but from us, so for me, part of me wondered … I grew up like three-quarters of a mile away from Howard University.
Howard University is one of the most profound black HBCUs in the country, that you went there for four years, and at the time you went, that’s in the 60s right? That you…
DARYL DAVIS: No man, I’m 59-years-old. I went there from ’76 to ’80.
SPEAKER 5: Okay, ’76 to ’80, but still it’s a pretty, I was still in DC at the time and Howard University was then, and is still now, one of the most profound HBCUs in the country, and it’s very black there. You can, you get blackness in that school, and so I’m wondering why you knew KKK members better than you would know black people when you were at an HBCU. And I didn’t feel the love from you, and that’s mainly what I’m trying to say. I would like for us, really, So, you said you didn’t know what to expect from us, let me tell you what to expect from us.
From people like me and him and people who are fighting like this. You can expect that you can be folded into the love of the Black community when you’re with us. You can expect that you’re going to be with people who will fight to the end for you. That’s what you can expect. When you’re with them you can’t expect that. You can expect that Kwame would lay his shit down for you. You can expect that I will lay my shit down for you. That’s what you can expect. That’s what I’d like you to walk away from here with. That, when you look at us, this dude stood in, what’s the reporter’s name face? What is it? What was the dude?
SPEAKER 4: Geraldo.
SPEAKER 5: Geraldo! He stood in Geraldo’s face, man. This dude is my daughter’s age. How old are you right now?
SPEAKER 3: Twenty-three.
SPEAKER 5: He’s 23 years old, man. He stood in this dude’s face and laid the law down with him. He had to be scared to do that. He couldn’t not be. Kwame is cool. They look at some of the stuff we do like we’re brave but we’re scared as shit in the moment. When we’re doing what we do. You know what I’m saying? So, you can expect that we will lay it down for you if you’re coming to our circumstances. Not that we’re going to attack you.
Where we came from that day was, “Hoo, wait a minute, this brother ain’t getting us. This brother ain’t getting what we stand for and who we are here in Baltimore.” We were the epicenter of activism in the world and we want you to get that’s who we are. We fight like we intend to win, and you can be in that with us. But we need you to be there showing us empathy, and showing us love and showing us appreciation at the exact same time.
DARYL DAVIS: And I felt the exact same thing, to be honest with you.
EZE JACKSON: I think that we can rap on that point because we only got two minutes left. But I just want to, real quick from each one of you, we’re all black men from different age groups, just two sentences. Going forward, what’s the most important thing you think you can do to, going forward that you will do to help bring more of this to the forefront?
DARYL DAVIS: Well firstly, I want to commend Kwame for bringing us together here today and for JC for coming forward as well. I think we can take that scene from the movie and use it for the betterment. As everybody agrees here, we didn’t agree on anything in the movie but we all agree here that was a very contentious scene where we were at each other’s throats. But through dialog and getting to know one another we are here together today, and we agree that we all need to come together.
SPEAKER 5: So, I think the main thing that we need to do is, my work is primarily around getting people who are somewhat unlike each other in the same space and doing the work that we haven’t done up to this point. So, I think it’s necessary for us to get people like us. Get white people. Get the trans community. Get all people into the same space, and do the real work that’s necessary to be done to break these silos apart. So that people start engaging each other, and learning each other, and seeing each other, and, this might sound a little mushy, but learning to love and appreciate someone who is somewhat unlike you.
We’re in the same family even though we try to break ourselves out into these little, tiny, little human populations. We’re really all in the same population. Until we start doing the real work of then grappling with these isims and phobias we’re not going to change this dynamic in the world. So, my work is getting people who are from different backgrounds in the same space.
SPEAKER 3: That scene in that movie brought us all popularity, more popularity, it was very controversial but what I want people to take away is that it ain’t important being on camera if the conversation isn’t of substance. And the time I spent with Daryl, and the conversation I had at dinner, that was a conversation of substance that should have been captured on camera before.
EZE JACKSON: Awesome. Well thanks y’all. I appreciate y’all having this conversation with me. Let’s have more, let’s link up more, do more work, let’s get it done.