Black Like Me

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The novel Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin, tells the story of a sensitive white man from the south. He embarked on a personal mission to experience the hatred and bigotry towards the blacks that was rampant in the south during that time period. Putting his family and safety on the back burner, he proceeded to alter his skin to a black pigment and set off into the muggy south. No longer seen as a human by other whites, he discovered how the blacks were oppressed to the point of no hope. He walked the streets one night as a black man, hated and feared by whites and respected by fellow blacks. While the next night he walked the streets as a white and felt spite from the blacks and acceptance from the whites, but the whole time he was the same man. These experiences only seem to strengthen the core of this man's beliefs. He remains a dedicated and courageous man with scientific curiosity in the subject of race. When dealing with hate, John's courage was essential in completing his experiments. There where times when bigots treated him so harshly that he felt unsafe, but he knew that this was part of being black. For example, when a racist teen pushed him against a wall and robbed him. "'Give me what you have, nigger'" (96). Putting himself in this type of danger simply to understand the black's life was important to him. He was not going to give up because he felt that would be giving up on the problem altogether. But his courage didn't only show in times of danger, it also was apparent when he was being mistreated by a clerk. John was hungry and the clerk refused to sell him food, but he was persistent in his plead for equality. ‘"As any other human, I need food to live. The nourishment is more than skin deep so please give me some food"' (119). He has the same courage that any black needed to live in the unfair world they inhabited. It was almost a trait of the environment and not a personal one. Another trait he shows is his unconditional dedication....
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