Discrimination In John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me

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“You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.” For Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, this just meant imaging how someone else sees the world. John Howard Griffin, on the other hand, took a more literal approach; in order to understand the degree of prejudice the black community faces, he dyed his white skin black. He then took a plunge into the deep South — the most segregated part of the country. He didn’t change anything else about him — he kept his name, experience, dialect, history and personality — to find out the truth about the racism the other half deals with simply because of the color of their skin. What he found and recorded in his account, Black Like Me, would shake a nation blind-to-injustice…show more content…
In the beginning, the account brings up how lighter-skinned and darker-skin blacks were being pit against each other and how that created distrust in the community. However, as the story continues, more and more members of the black community help Griffin, even if they are poor or if it comes at an inconvenience to them. One family offered to let him spend the night and have dinner with them, even though they can barely afford to eat. This unity in the black community continues on through the book, especially with the mentioning of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. This is one of the more important themes that the text kept coming back to, both subtly and effectively. However, the fact that this is a first person narration brings up the question of how reliable the author is. What did he keep from the readers, what did he gloss over? After all, most people know of how violent some whites could be against the blacks at the time, but there isn’t much violence shown in the text. Since it’s only the view of one person, it’s difficult to tell how trustworthy he is. Nevertheless, his experience is a unique one, making this account unlike any other and offering a view that is never seen. Overall, Black Like Me is an interesting book, and an unforgettable one at that. It offers a distinct look at the world as it was in the 1950’s and catches the reader’s attention and is well worth the
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