Who in their right mind would consider changing the color of their hair to purple when Hitler was controlling Germany? John Howard Griffin did not do that act, but completed one of the same nature. John Howard Griffin was a white man, who disguised himself as a black man to further understand the reason why Southerners were harsh to the colored. Throughout the novel, Black Like Me John Howard Griffin encompasses scenes of chilling reality to accurately portray the harsh life of being colored in the south, gain support for the Fourteenth Amendment, and evoke sorrow in the reader.
John Howard Griffin, the main character and author of the book Black Like Me, was born in Dallas, Texas. In 1959 Griffin was living in Mansfield, Texas were he found himself frustrated in his inability to understand the black/African American experience. Wanting to experience firsthand the obstacles and hardships of being black in America, Griffin did something no one thought could be done. He decided to go through with a medical treatment to change the color of his skin, temporarily becoming a black man.
In Black Like Me, there were the blacks and the whites. A man named John Howard Griffin was one of many to want to experience the life of blacks (in the 1950's). Griffin received the courage to "climb into his skin and walk around in it". Now, there were many instances where he was treated differently just because his skin was black. For example, he couldn't use the same bathroom as whites; they had separate faculties.
I bet you have never walked in someone’s shows as much as John Howard Griffin did. In the book Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin writes his story day by day on how he stepped in the African Americans skin. In my opinion, I agree with what Griffin did because it showed a sense of true feelings. To emphasize why I agree you have to try and put yourself in Griffins shoes. John Howard Griffin didn’t just want to observe racism to make people mad, but to make a statement, so therefore he got really into it.
John Howard Griffin gives us insight into what it's like to be a black man during a time of racial segregation in his book “Black Like Me.” Black people were treated like tenth class citizens as Griffin put it. He stepped into the life of a middle-aged black man and showed us what life was truly like to be an African-American. Furthermore, John Howard Griffin had wanted to know what it was like to be a Negro during times of segregation so he had medically changed his pigments to turn his skin from white to a lighter shade of black. It only took a short time for him to morph into the Negro life, he had met up with a black man who entered Griffin into the black status by saying “‘We’ form and to discuss ‘our situation.’
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin told his incredible journey experiencing racism in the Jim Crow South as an African-American. The book opened the eyes of many readers by illustrating the horrific treatment African-Americans experienced in the 1950s. The purpose of this historic book was to explore racism and to spread the truth about the harsh life of the black race during racial segregation. In the beginning of his experiment, Griffin traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana.
The book states, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. ”(39) People should not judge other people's actions or choices because we never know what they experienced in their lifetime. As mentioned earlier, the time period that this book took place in was very judgemental on the color of people's skin and gender roles. On the contrary, many people may argue that the the color of people’s skin does not relate to their life experiences.
When John Howard Griffin titled his book Black Like Me it lent to the idea that the book and the experiment was going to be unpleasant for many readers. While many would find the new information a valuable attempt to inform society, others would feel like it were a sin to become a black person. For example, in one part of the story someone mentions to Griffin, “They’re going to treat any Negro like a dog” (Griffin 48). Many white southerners treated blacks like dogs because they were not worth anything. Black Like Me was created to show that being black was not something to be ashamed of and that blacks were just as equal to any other
He mentions that black people’s “efforts to elevate [themselves] socially are looked upon as a sort of absurd caricature of ‘white civilisation’” (Johnson 79). As a black man himself, the ex-coloured man experiences such discrimination that marginalises and hinders the integration of a black man into American society. He himself finds that the disassociation from his black identity removes the “label of inferiority pasted on [his] forehead” and allows him “every possible opportunity to make a white man’s success” (Johnson 90-91). When creating an identity to successfully assimilate into American society, the ex-coloured man chooses to construct one that comes with white privilege.
Griffin states, “I’ll tell you how it is here. We’ll do business with you people. We’ll sure as hell screw your women. Other than that, you’re just completely off the record as far as we’re concerned” (105). A white hunter who gives Griffin a ride in Alabama displays his racism towards Griffin.
By writing Black Like Me, John Griffin was trying to write down everything he felt was important on his journey as a black man. One of the major things wrote down was the idea of white racism. Which is the belief that white people are superior to other races and because of that should run society. So, the main topic of the novel was social divide of whites and African Americans. As a black man John saw the contempt white people had towards African Americans, and just the overall condescending attitude emanated from these people.
James A. Forbes, an interdenominational minister in New York, once said, “When people rely on surface appearances and false racial stereotypes, rather than in-depth knowledge of others at the level of the heart, mind and spirit, their ability to assess and understand people accurately is compromised.” Forbes is saying that many humans judge by the color of the skin on the outside, rather than the fact that there is no difference on the inside. Humans also rely on the actions of those before that person with the same skin color. Unfortunately, humans do not try to get to know who a person really is and the personality of that person, they just assume that all African Americans are alike and not their own person. Statistics state that minority
The article entitled “Why I am Black and Not African American” written by John H. McWhorter argues that americans should use the term black instead of African American when referring to people of color. The term black is perceived as a symbol of strength and hard work, while the term african american transports blacks back to a time in history filled with bondage and discrimination. Therefore, McWhorter argues that the derogatory term of african american should not be used and that the term black is more appropriate. McWhorter was able to establish a strong argument because he met several of the standard criteria for a quality argument. The established criteria explains that a quality argument must include a debatable thesis, supporting evidence, ethos, pathos, and an opposition.
Life in the Southern part of the United States during the late 1950’s was a time of great conflict. Blacks and Whites did not see eye to eye. John Howard Griffin makes an effort to document these times by portraying himself as a black man in South. Negroes, as they were called at the time, were treated very differently from the white population. He quickly found this out.
Racial segregation affected many lives in a negative way during the 1900s. Black children had it especially hard because growing up was difficult to adapting to whites and the way they want them to act. In Black Boy, Richard Wright shows his struggles with his own identity because discrimination strips him of being the man he wants to be. Richard undergoes many changes as an individual because of the experience he has growing up in the south and learning how to act around whites.