In an essay written in , he observes: On the bus, whites refuse to sit near him. He even becomes the target of racially motivated violence, being chased, harassed, and threatened with death at various times in the book.
Griffin notes that although black people are aware that this racist treatment is not directed at themselves personally, they cannot help but feel it personally, and it burns. Griffin makes the point that many well-meaning whites consider themselves friends of black people, but do so in a patronizing manner which shows they are prejudiced, too.
He emphasizes that black people do not wish to be patronized, but to be given their rights and treated as equals. Another form of racism Griffin witnesses is present among blacks themselves. One man Griffin encounters, a mixed-race individual named Christophe, looks down upon those with darker skin. He is proud of not being a pure-blooded black person, as he clearly despises his own race.
This self-hatred of blacks on the basis of color is even sadder, in some way, than white attitudes, because it shows how African-Americans internalize white racist ideology and turn it on themselves. A final form of racism that Griffin warns against is black racism toward whites. Although it is understandable that black people are suspicious and resentful toward white people, he maintains that the situation will never improve if blacks sink to the level of racist whites and begin hating white people.
Instead, the good and kind-hearted people of both races need to begin communicating openly. The racial divide can only be bridged by goodwill and understanding, never through hatred and anger.
How does Griffin explain examples of low morality that he does encounter in the black community? In the South during the s, a common racial stereotype was that black people had lower moral standards than whites, especially when it came to sex. Throughout his journal, Griffin shows how hypocritical this attitude is. Griffin is shocked when white men approach him and Sterling Williams at the shoeshine stand, asking about sex with black girls.
Griffin is careful to show that there are people with high and low sexual morality in the black community, just as there are in the white community. While hitching rides through rural Alabama, Griffin finds that many of the men who pick him up are interested in tales of sex. They all assume that a black man would have experience with exotic sex acts that decent whites do not dare to try.
Griffin feels degraded by their questions. Griffin uses this as an opportunity to educate the young man, and his readers, explaining that there is no real difference between black and white sexual attitudes.
The hunter brags that he rapes women who come to him looking for jobs. He claims that white men do black women a favor by raping them, because it improves the black race by getting white blood into their kids.
Griffin points out the irony: Yet this white rape of Negro women is apparently a different matter. In New Orleans near the end of his journey, Griffin sees a notice posted by a white man looking for sex with underage girls. The fact that white men feel themselves free to perform sex acts with fourteen-year-old black girls, while a black man is advised not to even look at a white woman in a movie poster, is a clear double standard, and shows the hypocrisy of whites who pose as morally superior to blacks.
While Griffin encounters a frightening amount of evil on his journey through the South, he also sees evidence of the good in people. Cite examples of goodwill and compassion Griffin experiences. What hope do they give Griffin that the racial divide may be bridged? And even in the ghettos and swamps of the South, and amid the environment of racism, Griffin encounters loving and compassionate and courageous people.
The first example of such a person is Sterling Williams. The kind, patient shoeshine man knows that Griffin is really a white man in disguise, but he readily accepts Griffin and teaches him what he knows.
After a short period of time, he speaks to Griffin as if he were black, too. Griffin is touched, too, by the way Williams and his partner Joe provide a daily lunch for the wino who begs on the streets. This small act of kindness, he reveals, elevates the shoeshiners to the status of noblemen. Other blacks show great kindness to Griffin, including a young student who walks miles out of his way to show Griffin to a movie house; Bill Williams, a man who befriends Griffin on the bus and advises him about how to behave in Mississippi; a black sawmill worker who gives Griffin a place to sleep on the floor of his shack in the swamps; and an elderly preacher in Mobile, Alabama, who shares his home and even his bed with Griffin.
The preacher emphasizes a message of love, rather than hatred, toward whites. Griffin takes this as a thesis for his own work. Love, and not hatred, is the answer to bridging the racial divide.
Griffin also encounters kind, caring white people. In Alabama, he gets a ride from a young white construction worker who he is amazed to find almost completely free of prejudice.
Then, too, Griffin admires crusaders like P. East, who bravely speak out against racism although it costs them their reputations. After his articles are published in Sepia and the news of his project becomes public, Griffin notes that he receives 6, letters, and only nine of these are abusive.
The rest are all from supporters at home and overseas. On visiting Atlanta and studying the black community there, Griffin feels for the first time that there is hope for the dismal racial relations in the South.
Outline the factors cited by Griffin that have made it possible for Atlanta to make strides against segregation and discrimination against black people. Having shown readers a rather hopeless picture of the racist South, Griffin describes the strides made in the city of Atlanta. The African-American section of Atlanta consists of black-owned banks, businesses, and industries as well as six black colleges, including Morehouse an all-male college , Spelman an all-female college , and Atlanta University.
Black business leaders, educators, and spiritual leaders band together to work in the best interest of the black community. For instance, when banks refuse to lend money to black homebuyers, community leaders pool together a large sum of money to give as loans. Seeing that they cannot win the battle, the banks begin lending to blacks. Alexander, one of the Atlanta business leaders. The second major factor is a sympathetic political leadership. Atlanta would not have a black mayor until , but white mayor William B.
Hartsfield is sympathetic to the black cause, and his administration helps enable change to happen. Third, the city has a newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, headed by journalist Ralph McGill, that is unafraid to stand up for right and justice.
East in Mississippi—who make a stand for racial justice. Black business, professional, and civic leaders are all politically active, and in , black Democrats and Republicans united to form the Atlanta Negro Voters League, helping blacks gain a voice in their government.
In , a black candidate was elected to the city school board. While Griffin knows there is a long road ahead before equality can finally be achieved, he looks to Atlanta as a beacon of hope for a peaceful, nonviolent path to change for the major cities of America.
Griffin spent six weeks in the South disguised as a black man in order to learn about the black experience of racism. Was it foolish of him to even attempt it? Griffin acknowledges in the Preface that readers may be skeptical of his findings or offended that a white man would think he understands what it is like to be black after a few short weeks in dark makeup. He was able to go into the restaurants where blacks were not even allowed to stop to look at the menu.
Switching between black and white opened his eyes to how society treated blacks and whites at the time. One day he was a disgrace and the next he was treated like a king.
After this long trip, he decided to let his skin fully return white and go back home. After looking over his information and organizing it he decides it is finally time for the public to know the truth. He then publishes his findings and goes on television for interviews. He is asked to speak on many shows. Many people support him and his findings, but the people in his home town do not offer much support. People in his town begin to turn on him and threaten his life and the lives of his family members.
He asks the police to watch his house so his family is not harmed. It gets so bad that they have to leave for a while. When they come back, nothing has changed.
Someone in town hangs a dummy of him on Main Street. He decided to move his family away once and for all to prevent anyone from getting hurt. This story gave me an inside look of what it was like to be both a black and a white person during in the south.
I was unable to put the book down because I was so intrigued. This story took my breath away. My favorite part of this book is when John Griffin describes how you are treated based on your skin color. I was the same man, whether white or black. Yet when I was white, I received the brotherly-love smiles and the privileges from whites and the hate stares or obsequiousness from the Negroes. And when I was a Negro, the whites judged me fit for the junk heap, while the Negroes treated me with great warmth.
The author was treated completely different as a white man than he was as a black man. When he was a white man, he receives respect and courtesy from the other whites, but suspicion and fear from the blacks. When he was a black man, he receives hatred and hostility from the whites, but warmth and generosity from his fellow blacks.
It surprised me that you could sense these distinct feelings toward him while reading. It was almost like I was living it myself. It is crazy how cold-hearted some of the white people acted towards him. Some had sympathy in their eyes, but others were set to make his life horrible. This book just goes to show you how truly bad it was for the blacks during segregation.
It is proof of it, and the stories of John Griffin are more realistic than any told or documented before. Black Like Me was not made up to sympathize the blacks or as an overreaction. The whites dehumanized the blacks and treated them like savages.
Towards the end of the book he was walking down a highway for miles hoping someone would pick him up. During the day, not a single white person would pick him up. This all changed during the night.
That night, he always had a ride. These men were asking him repulsive questions, and if he did not give him a sufficient answer, he would be kicked out of the vehicle. The questions that they were asking him would never be asked to his friends.
Reading this book, Black Like Me, opened my eyes to the terrors that the black people faced in the South during I also gain an understanding of how whites were treated in comparison to blacks.
John Griffin was very brave for taking on this project and publishing his findings. This must have taken a lot of courage, but his work helped many people.
Black Like Me: Essay Q&A, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
Black Like Me essaysThis book is an autobiographical diary of John Howard Griffin, a white journalist from Texas, who undergoes medical treatment to temporarily color his skin black, so that he can understand what it is like to be a Negro in a land of racial segregation. It is a journal of t.
Black Like Me Skin Color What is the value of skin color? In the biological point of view, it is worth nothing. In the social point of view, it represents community standings, dignity, confidence or something people have never imagined. Black Like Me begins when John Howard Griffin decides that he wants to dye his skin black so that he can see and feel what a black man.
Essay about Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin - In the novel Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, Griffin is a white man who went under medical surgery to change his skin color to black in order to get a first hand look into the life of a negro. Essays - largest database of quality sample essays and research papers on Black Like Me Essay.