The John Griffin Experience In the 1950’s, racism was at its peak in the US. In the book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, he puts himself into a black man’s shoes to experience an everyday life of what it is like being of darker color. He takes it upon himself to seek medical treatment to change the pigmentation of his skin from white to black. After undergoing this treatment, he sets out to New Orleans to begin his life in darker skin.
In Brent Staples “Black Men and Public Space” and “From Parallel Time”, Staples describes the encounters and stereotyping he went through in his life. In each essay he references several events in which complete strangers judged him because of the color of his skin. Although both essays discus how he was discriminated against and stereotyped Staples actions change drastically from one essay to the next. In the first essay by Brent Staples, “Black Men and Public Space” Staples has very passive actions when he encounters strangers on the street.
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).
Through little fault of their own, African Americans such as Tom Robinson are constantly deprived of equal opportunities, falsely accused of wrongdoing, & unfairly discriminated against, which is clearly shown through how Tom Robinson is cross-examined: “‘You testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you so scared that she’d hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?’‘No suh, I’s scared I’d be in court, just like I am now.’ ‘Scared of arrest, scared you’d have to face up to what you did?’‘No suh, scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.’ ‘Are you being impudent to me, boy?’”(202).
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.
I spent my life looking at other people. I saw myself as the people around me, and the people around me were black. My cousins are black, my mom is black, my gran is black. I grew up black. Because I had a white father, because I’d been in white Sunday school, I got along with the white kids, but I didn’t belong with the white kids.
This well educated man was getting dirty looks and halsted for using standard everyday services. As a person in today’s society most would hope that this doesn’t happen as often on the contrary it happens everyday. Many people are still more likely to trust white people over black people even with the same credentials as each other. Especially with jobs in today’s society, how many african american bankers does one see on a regular basis usually one to none because even today entire companies are racially profiling. Many Americans have come to the conclusion that the black people movement ended when they obtained voting rights, but no matter what rights are given to people of different races they will 6 times out of 10 feel attacked or racially profiled at least once a day.
Throughout his essay, Staples is able to make the audience understand what he has to deal with as a black man. Staples does this by using words and phrases such as, “...her flight made me feel like an accomplice in tyranny” and “... I was indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area…” (542). By writing and describing how he (Staples) feels, the audience is able to get an inside look into how black men are treated and better understand why society’s teachings, play a vital role in how we see each other. Staples’ powerful writing also allows the reader to take a step back and see how as a society, people make judgements on others based on appearance alone.
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.
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.
The story represents the culmination of Wright’s passionate desire to observe and reflect upon the racist world around him. Racism is so insidious that it prevents Richard from interacting normally, even with the whites who do treat him with a semblance of respect or with fellow blacks. For Richard, the true problem of racism is not simply that it exists, but that its roots in American culture are so deep it is doubtful whether these roots can be destroyed without destroying the culture itself. “It might have been that my tardiness in learning to sense white people as "white" people came from the fact that many of my relatives were "white"-looking people. My grandmother, who was white as any "white" person, had never looked "white" to me” (Wright 23).
Even if you are one of the poorest people in the town, if you are white, then you are still more significant in the social classes than a black person. Today, people are going through the same racial discrimination that was happening so long ago and will happen till the day our world is nonexistent anymore. In our society, people are judged for many things they can’t change. In the article, “Inequality, Race, and Remedy,” there was a study done that sent out approximately 1,300 résumés to apply for the same job.
He goes through a lot, he gets treated poorly and he also has a hurt back and he still has to work. His life is different from white people. Power is used to control crooks bad about himself. He often feels isolated, depressed, and controlled at times.
Rasiciam has been shown by employers in many ways towards the employers of different race. According to Blitz Ronn, “black employees also historically received lower scores on their evaluations.” Employers take the time to study their employees work habits and how they impact the company however, African Americans are not always stood out. Employers will not look further into their work because of their race causing a negative or lower evaluation compared to other co workers. Morefore, Ernie Colbert claims to have worked at CNN TBS for 19 years yet has only been promoted twice and was still paid less than his white coworkers (Blitz Ronn).
Internalized Racism is the The Taye Diggs interview, Nella Larsen’s “Passing”, Sojourner Truth, and the racial scenarios video all display at least one of the five themes that are listed and all tie into each other in some aspect. Each New York during the 1920’s and the 1930’s better known as The Harlem Renaissance passing served as a In gateway for African American writers. Although these writers wrote about different issues their concepts were the same on certain topics such as: assimilation, colorism, passing, racism, and segregation. interview, scenario, novel, and biography. of these will be discussed and this paper will show the similarities of the themes in each main theme in the Taye Diggs interview; the topic of self-hate and colorism are being discussed.