Black Like Me Review
By: David L. Middleton
06 December 2009
Did you ever wonder what it was like for a white man to be black in the South during the end of the 1950’s? A procedure to darken the skin was possible and was done in 1959. In Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin, he explains and identifies how African Americans are treated differently and harshly due solely to the color of skin, by changing his own skin color to that of a black man. This book was written to provide America with hands-on experience of the daily life of a black man and help provide a possible solution to help America with the race problem. The role of race and skin ...view middle of the document...
As a black man, he could not enter some of these businesses. While in the company of other black men, Mr. Griffin was treated as a normal person. Mr. Griffin believed, “Its drama lay in its lack of drama, in its quietness, in the courtesies we felt impelled to extend to one another. I wondered if the world outside were so bad for us that we had to counter it among ourselves by salving one another with kindness.” Knowing the white man had a lot of hate toward blacks’ encouraged black people to love each other more.
As John Howard Griffin traveled throughout the South, he noticed that people of different class and roles treated black people different. Mr. Griffin describes a white woman in a dime store who refused to cash his travelers’ checks. Regardless of how often he has shopped there, the woman would not help him. John Howard Griffin later arrived at a Catholic book store. He asked to cash the check, which they did without hesitation, proving how people of different roles determine the treatment of black people. In Black Like Me, he also mentions how a military uniformed officer would not get in front of him while waiting to board the bus. Class and role plays a major part in this example. Men in uniform, mostly officers, did not show racism or discrimination because of the integration of the armed forces. As Mr. Griffin was trying to buy his bus ticket, the white woman ticket-seller saw Mr. Griffin and “her otherwise attractive face turned sour, violently so.” This woman, of lower class with a role of fewer standards than of the military officer, treated Mr. Griffin harsher. She continued by trying to refuse his money. After finally accepting, she proceeded to “hurl my change and the ticket on the counter with such force most of it fell on the floor at my feet.” White men of very low class seem to make themselves present after dark. John Griffin described how these men treat the black man. They view black men as “inexhaustible sex-machines with...