31 October 2011
Black Like Me
“In the flood of the light against white tile, the face and shoulders of a stranger- a fierce, bald, very dark Negro- glared at me from the glass… All the traces of the John Griffin I had been were wiped from existence.” This is just the start of the transformation John Griffin had to go through to create the ultimate sociological experiment in the 1950’s. Within the book Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin, it can be argue that discrimination truly existed amongst the white citizen and black citizens, segregation existed beyond true realization, and persecution was wrongly institutionalized. The narrative writing of John Griffin goes into great depth of these very points revealing the life of a black man in the south. Black Like Me is a book placing John Howard Griffin, the author in the deep south with one question running around in his head. “If a white man became a Negro in the Deep South, what adjustments would he have to make?” John sets out to answer that question, going about the medical transformation of changing his skin color to black and dumping himself into the south with no knowledge of what was to come. John Griffin’s writing is filled with interesting information showing different struggles that black men and women dealt with at the time within society. Black Like Me takes place in Texas where Griffin talks about his plans to become this white man in a black mans body. For six weeks the author, hitchhikes, walks, or takes busses through the streets of four other Southern States; Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia.
Griffin sets out on a sociological quest to discover what it is really like to be a Negro and what he discovers is that many freedoms and rights that he had had as a privileged white were now forbidden to him while he dwelled within his newly black skin. Griffin also encounters much discrimination that existed between whites and blacks. This was part of the...