Black Like Me Research Paper

849 Words 4 Pages
Hannah Arrant
Renee Celeste
HIST 1302 3A1
23 February 2017
Griffin’s Plight
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin was awarded by Anisfield-Wolf for bringing to light the dark racial injustice in the Southern culture. This autobiography takes place in the deep south during the mid-twentieth century. Griffin is an experienced writer and slightly notorious with his previously published work The Devil Rides Outside, which was surrounded with controversy and banned in Detroit, Michigan. However, unlike this previous work, Black Like Me is a first hand account of a white journalist changing his skin color and traveling in the deep South. “It traces the changes that occur to heart and body and intelligence when a so-called first-class citizen is cast
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Many of the things Griffin experienced and addressed in this work are not common knowledge, such as the belief of the common deviant sexuality among Negroes during the time. This was expressed in the book when Griffin was hitchhiking, and was mainly offered transport by white men curious of a black man’s sexual exploits. One young man even requested to view Griffin’s genitals. During his hitchhiking times, Griffin had some close calls, and was threatened verbally on more than one occasion. An example of this is on page 104, “You can kill a … and toss him into that swamp and no one’ll ever know what happened to him.” Instances like this are convincing that Griffin’s experience was thorough, and provides the reader a better understanding of the extent of hate and racism. However, Griffin has his flaws as well. After eight weeks, Griffin becomes eager to lose his black stain. No longer could he tolerate the hate, the anxiety, the threats, the fear, or even discrimination he sought. He hid in a room from people and the sun to lighten his skin, though he was well aware that there were millions that could not do the same. Then again, the brief of this book is beneficial, as its lesson is short and stunning. To grant oneself superiority over another, for any given reason, is human nature. Though this sense of superiority is an illusion created and guided by the need for self-esteem to formulate an unhealthy dose of narcissism, it is only that: an

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