Black Like Me Experiment

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In Black Like Me, John Griffin chronicles the events during his experiment in the black South. Having lived all of his life as a white male, arguably the most privileged demographic at the time, Griffin decides to go undercover as a black man using special medication and skin darkening techniques. He develops valuable insight, but there was no way he could have come close to have fully lived as a black man in the South. However, the experiment itself was not in itself foolish. The fact that Griffin would never be able to fully live as a black man is a point that he even points out himself. While talking to a young man who had given him a ride, they discussed the so-called sexual deviancy that seemed to be much more prevalent among the black…show more content…
Griffin wanted to experience the differences between the white and black communities, a line that no one else attempted or perhaps even thought to cross. Moreover, the supposed differences seemed too large a deterrent to confront or fix. The news that someone had actually tried caused a volatile reaction amongst some outspoken white Southerners. There was a very dark period of time directly after the experiment, filled with even more distrust and racism, but it wasn’t purely due to the fact that someone had the guts to pull this off. It was the realization that everything that they had been conditioned to think or react was in fact just a shield to control the what was the “inferior” race in their eyes. Many white Southerners tried to resist the change, claiming they were only helping the black population or keeping balance by “protecting” them from what radical thinking could spring from. Thankfully later on in the century, this racist mindset was brought to light and black civil rights activists became more prominent figures as they fought for equal opportunities. A battle that had arguably happened much later than it should have, set off by the works and efforts of those like Griffin, who went against the flow of societal norms in risky experiments. So while there were flaws and mistakes in John Griffin’s experiment in Black Like Me, that same experiment helped bring the mindset of many inside and even outside of the South into a better, less deprived view of the world around them with some resistance. However, were any of those eye-opening eras in history ever without flaw or a dark
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