Black Like Me (Novel Essay)

Topics: Black people, Race and Ethnicity, White people Pages: 2 (749 words) Published: August 29, 2013
Black Like Me Essay: Racial Relations and what we can learn from them

Throughout decades past, American philosophers and psychologists have strived to discover the “reason” for racism. John Howard Griffin, however, decided he would go straight into the heat of it. John Howard Griffin transformed himself into a man of color and went straight into the bible belt and racial hotbed of the United States; the Deep South. While there, he was able to absorb and learn much information about the black culture and how they were treated. But was he really a black man? Could he really experience the same feelings and emotions a black man does? Deep down, the answer is no. From a cosmetic and political standpoint, and possibly an emotional one, the answer would be yes. John Howard Griffin experienced less than cordial treatment, and received in courteous and rude treatments, with the ever-present threat of death lingering over his head. For what everyone else could see was a black man. Nobody knew a white man was under that dyed skin, and that’s what makes his journey so prolific and interesting to read.

In Zinn’s essay “Or Does it explode?” we learn that “There were more black faces in the newspapers and on television, creating an impression of change.” [465; Zinn] As Howard Griffin pointed out in the novel we read, the whites thought they were doing something good, especially when one white believed that “we figure we’re doing you people a favor to get some white blood in your kids.” [Black Like Me; 103] Whites were under the impression that making people believe they supported the idea of integration and equalization, the blacks would fall for such a fallacy and stop complaining. The goal of the blacks showing up on TV and Newspaper was, as I support, not a gesture of kindness, but rather an attempt to make the blacks believe the whites were trying to support equalization. For example, it can much be related to putting a black man on your television show, saying,...
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