A Sociological Analysis of Black Like Me

Topics: Black people, Sociology, White people Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: October 29, 2013
Part A- Black Like Me: A Sociological Research Project
In Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin uses skin dye and ultraviolet rays to turn his skin black in order to conduct a sociological research project. While he is changing his skin color, he decides to maintain everything else the same as when he was a white man. His marital status, profession and wealth all remain unchanged, but by changing his skin color he can truly get a feeling of how it is to live life as a black man. The goal of his research was to answer the question of what it was like to be a black man. In doing so, he found out that even if he attempted to live his life the same way as before, society simply did not allow this to be possible due to the color of his skin. The method of research he used was called participant observation, a way of systematically gathering information when you are interacting with the group you are studying (class notes, SOCI 201, Winter 2006). When Griffin’s skin was dyed, he acted as a complete participant, fully communicating with members of the black community, following the norms that had been set for blacks and allowing himself to gain an in-depth understanding of how it felt to live as a black man. On the other hand, when Griffin transitioned back into the white community he chose to act more as a complete observer, watching how the whites interacted with the blacks, the way whites dealt with various situations and how they explained behaviors of their own and of the blacks. Part B- Sociological Concepts and Illustrations

In Black Like Me there are numerous sociological concepts and illustrations used. On the very basis of sociological concepts is the spectrum of macro structural and micro interpretive structure. Black Like Me is a perfect example of a micro interpretive sociological study. What better way to experience and get a feeling of how it is to beblack than to become a black person yourself. While doing this, Griffin allowed himself to truly gain...
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