Black Like Me Essay

960 WordsMar 24, 20094 Pages
Black Like Me is about segregation in the South during the 1950’s and a white man, John Howard Griffin deciding to dye his skin black to see what it was like to be a Negro in the South. At that time, the South was a place where there was war between races, white-only restrooms, and denied rights guaranteed in the constitution. This experiment would help him to understand racism from a black person’s point of view. Black Like Me discusses the difficulty with skin color within a racially unjust society and the damaging effects such a society has on the black community. Black Like Me also discusses three major themes, the theme of white racism, black strengths and white sensitivity. When John Griffin completed the process of darkening his skin and saw himself in the mirror for the first time as a black man he said, "The transformation was total and shocking. I had expected to see myself disguised, but this was something else. I was imprisoned in the flesh of an utter stranger, an unsympathetic one with whom I felt no kinship. All traces of the John Griffin I had been were wiped from existence. Even the senses underwent a change so profound it filled me with distress. I looked into the mirror and saw nothing of the white John Griffin's past." (Griffin, 15-16) Griffin feels imprisoned in a body other than his own. He does not like the person he sees before him and feels that the figure he sees in the mirror has no relationship with the mind and soul inside. Black Like Me shows how the blacks are segregated from the whites and how racists treat them. The Segregation is defined as the separation of groups by custom or law. This includes using separate restrooms, restaurants, schools, water fountains and many other things. In the book, white racism cruelly and completely corrupts the heart, body and intelligence of not only the black people, but also the opposed white

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