Black Like Me In Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, the author’s interactions and experiences with members of both the white and black races demonstrate the ideology of white supremacy in the form of whites’ expectations. While traversing through his journey as an artificial black man on November 11, 1959, John Howard Griffin finds himself in exhaustion after failing to employ himself so he takes a seat at Jackson Square Park, where a white man states that he cannot stay in the park, which Griffin takes as a favor. “Later, I told my story at the Y, and discovered that Negroes have the right to sit in Jackson Square… This individual simply did not want me there” (Griffin 43). This shows the first example of a white person bending the
The book Black Like Me illustrated by John Howard Griffin is a book about a Caucasian southern man who wants to know how it feels to be an African-American man in the south, which was segregated during the 1950s. “You can’t just walk in anyplace and ask for a drink… There’s a Negro café over in the French Market about two blocks up”. (25) This was a quote from the book when John Howard Griffin had only been a black man for just a few days and realized things have changed since he became a black man. “A stinging indictment of thoughtless, needless inhumanity.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a non fiction book written by Michelle Alexander, a well known civil rights lawyer, is a book that every American citizen should read. Alexander’s book cover is of three metal bars and two strong black hands holding them tightly. The book spent multiple weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list and has a foreword written by Cornel West, he is a well known and respected social activist. The book discuss how the new system of oppression for people of color in the United States is mass incarceration. Jim Crow laws were a systematic way to segregate and discriminate against black people.
Black Like Me is an incredible journey into what life was like in the Deep South during the late 1950s. John Griffin performed a social experiment to see what was life really like for blacks in the Southern States. John Griffin transformed himself into a black man and recorded his experiences into a book, Black Like Me. I was fascinated that 1950s science and medicine had advanced enough to allow someone to change the pigment of their skin. The procedure that Griffin underwent was simply taking pills and exposing himself to ultra violet rays (6).
Have you ever wondered how life was in the past, or how people were treated? In the book Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin, Griffin experiences what it is like to be a black man in the south for six weeks. One critique of the book is, even though Griffin spent six weeks as a Negro, he will never fully empathize with the black race. I totally disagree with this statement because of how Griffin was treated/discriminated. Griffin was treated terribly, and I will tell you why.
The crowd cheered and roared when these words were delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. during his iconic Washington march speech in 1969. This was the time when America found itself torn apart in the racial conflicts. During the Civil Rights Movement, it was evident that not only black Americans but also many white Americans opposed the African American oppression. One such personality was John Howard Griffin, a Texan Journalist who documented his experiment of experiencing life as a ‘negro’ by deliberately turning his skin black through pigmentation and other medical procedures. The product that emerged out of his experiment is a book called Black Like Me.
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.
Racism continues to be an issue that causes a great deal of tension in the United States. While some believe that we are living in a post-racial society, others are aware that racism can take different forms in this day and age. In White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race, author Matthew Hughey tackles the topic of racism in a unique way. Hughey focuses on how the members of the two groups that he conducted the study on conceptualize their whiteness and how that relates to racism. Hughey spend a little over one year conducting his research for this project.
In the autobiography “Black Boy” by Richard Wright, Richard learns that racism is prevalent not only in his Southern community, and he now becomes “unsure of the entire world” when he realizes he “had been unwittingly an agent for pro-Ku Klux Klan literature” by delivering a Klan newspaper. He is now aware of the fact that even though “Negroes were fleeing by the thousands” to Chicago and the rest of the North, life there was no better and African Americans were not treated as equals to whites. This incident is meaningful both in the context of his own life story and in the context of broader African American culture as well. At the most basic level, it reveals Richard’s naïveté in his belief that racism could never flourish in the North. When
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.
Our Distorted Reflection Growing up, I dreaded going to school. People shouting at me, people pointing at me, snickering at me. Never being ordinary. I would get home and go to the bathroom, staring at myself in the mirror, tasting salt water on the tip of my lips.
In How It Feels To Be Colored Me by Zora Neal Hurston well as in The Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr both authors convey what it feels like to be face with race issues. The two essays shed light on the social issues in different ways. The essays show the struggles of life when those around the two authors do not fully grasp the concept. Both Hertz and King use tone, their audience, and point of view to get their point across with the goal of bringing a better understanding to their audience.
And I can see from the outside in, driven by the old voices of childhood and lost in anger and fear.” This quote explains how a child could be effected with racist comments. Although it happened when she was a child, the racist comments came back to her because that’s what she believes she was. This ties in with Americans having equal opportunities because it shows how one could be affected by racism. If the American government was to restrict every race
In the book Black Like Me, the three main themes that John Howard Griffin stress are identity, race, and white supremacy. The story begins with a naïve Griffin deciding to pose as a black man in the Deep South to study the living conditions, civil rights, and overall life of black people in the late 1950s. He does this as a black man instead of a white one to get the truth out of black people and not the censored version they usually give and to witness it firsthand. Griffin originally underestimates the oppression of black people, but he will soon find out the harsh realities of black racism and inequality.
Literature is a precious art form to many and important for various reasons. Literacy helps improve grammar, provides entertainment, educates people and provides inspiration. It is specifically useful for educating people on racial discrimination as many classic works contain racism. Both To Kill a Mockingbird and The Butler are great at expanding people’s knowledge on racism. Although they have two entirely different plots, they both depict how little people value an African-American’s opinion, characters challenging racism and the acceptance of blatant racism.