KLAN-DESTINE RELATIONSHIPS by Daryl Davis

KLAN-DESTINE RELATIONSHIPS

A Black Man's Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Grammy-winning musician Davis gets taken for a ride by the KKK in this futile and pointless volume. When a friend of his says he is joining the Ku Klux Klan, Davis approaches a few local heavies hoping to find ``common ground'' on which they can stand. Surprisingly, Davis is able to form friendships with some of the racists he meets--or so it would seem. What never occurs to Davis is that he may be being used by these people. For instance, Roger Kelly, who is still active in the KKK, is depicted as a white ``separatist'' as opposed to a white ``supremacist.'' Davis seems oblivious to Kelly's smooth way of talking out of both sides of his mouth and casts him as a victim in an episode of ``reverse discrimination'' at Howard University, where Kelly is denied entrance to a talk show on racist groups. In the most ridiculous case, Kelly names Davis godfather to his newborn daughter. Nowhere during these scenes does the author consider that his book might be the perfect vehicle by which Kelly can gain new members. In another truly offensive scene, Davis visits the National Holocaust Museum, where he interviews several luminaries on the hate scene who are protesting the museum but neglects to mention their purpose--the protesters deny the Holocaust took place. Indeed, the anti-Semitism of the KKK is a massive blind spot for Davis. Finally, he endlessly makes excuses for Klan members who are no longer violent, as if this somehow mitigates their continued membership in such a terrorist organization. The dual dangers of this book are that some readers will find tacit support for their beliefs that blacks are easily led and others will view the Klan as ``not all that bad'' and perhaps join where they otherwise might not have. (16 pages photos not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-88282-159-8
Page count: 335pp
Publisher: New Horizon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1997