Sharpe Jr., Ernest. “The Man Who Changed His Skin.” American Experiences: Reading in American History Volume II from 1877. Seventh Edition. Randy Roberts and James S.Olsen. United States: Pearson Education Inc, 2008.240-250. Print.
Main Point of the Article:
The article’s main purpose was to give an idea of racism through the perspective of a white man in the shoes of a black man. In the article, the author gives a brief account of the life of an unusual man who for short period of time posed as a black man in a racist society. The article highlights some of his life achievements, emphasizing one of his greatest- his quest to understand racism firsthand by ‘temporarily becoming black’.
Why is the article significant? …show more content…
In regards to Griffin, he says, “It is hard to imagine a person worse suited than Griffin to pass for black. A cultural epicure who had spent his adolescence in France and lived a blind, sheltered existence for the previous decade, Griffin had remarkably little in common with Southern whites, let alone with blacks” (248). Though this may have him slightly awkward when interacting with both races, I believe these qualities made him the best candidate for the task he wanted to undertake in discovering the degree of racism in the South. Because of these qualities, i.e. not being raise in the American racial society, being a cultural epicure, being sheltered, and even being blind, I felt equipped him, if it’s safe to say, with the ‘naivety’ he needed to have an experience free from biasness. This we see in his reaction and comments to some of the acts of discrimination and violence towards him, he was shocked, and I interpreted that as his naivety to the situation. I felt his novel on his experience spoke volumes because of its tint of non-biasness. This is what I believe prompted the authors comment about the book “Black Like Me”, that “there was too much of the author, too little of others”. Griffin experience was personal, from his perspective. Including others, I believe would have lead to biasness of the report. I argue against the author’s perspective that Griffin’s work was ‘imperfect’ because of this. I say that it was the exact factor that was needed, i.e. the explanation of racism from a personal standpoint; this is what I believe gave voice to the book “Black Like