Black Views Of White In Black Like Me By John Howard Griffin

1197 words - 5 pages

“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.” Martin Luther King Junior’s powerful words explain the relationship between blacks and whites in John Howard Griffin’s fictional novel, Black Like Me. John Griffin conducts an experiment to change his skin color from Caucasian to Negro. Due to his outside, his inside becomes neglected but when Caucasian covered the outside, the same man gets treated with respect. When he decided to travel to Mississippi, he interviewed many black leaders asking them how they feel about the neglect and hatred among Negros. After returning to New Orleans, he stops is medication which slowly changes his skin back to white. Griffin’s adventures educate all who are Caucasian and even African American. John’s realistic storyline explains the hate and suffering a black-skinned man experiences in order to receive answers regarding racial discrimination.
John Griffin’s extraordinary transformation from white to black helped him open his eyes and see both sides from a unique point of view. “When all the talk, all the propaganda has been cut away, the criterion is nothing but the color of skin. My experience proved that. They judged me by no quality. My skin was dark” (Griffin128). John’s day of birth sits at June 16, 1920, in Dallas, Texas. When he traveled to France as a teenager to attend school, Griffin was astonished to discover that the French did not care about racial differences like the United States. He committed to himself to end racial discrimination but he did not know what stands in his path to that goal. In an effort to step closer to his goal, he changes his skin color from white to black. “The completeness of this transformation appalled me. It was unlike anything I had imagined. I became two men, the observing one and the one who panicked, who felt Negroid even to the depths of my entrails. I felt the beginnings of great loneliness, not because I was a Negro but because the man I had been, the self I knew, was hidden in the flesh of another” (Griffin31).
When he decides to take a short stroll in the streets of New Orleans, a man follows him yelling “Ain’t no way you can get away from me, Mr. Shithead. You might as well stop there” (Griffin51). He now realizes the danger of dark streets in New Orleans as a Negro. When he approaches the nearby church, the bells ring. “The word ‘nigger’ picked up the bell’s resonances and repeated itself again and again in my brain. Hey, nigger, you can’t go in there. Hey nigger, you can’t drink here. We don’t serve niggers. And then the boy’s words: Mr. No-hair, Baldy, Shithead. (Would it have happened if I were white?)” (Griffin53).Following experiences in New Orleans, John Griffin chooses to travel to Mississippi and Alabama, which rumors say to be even worse for blacks than New Orleans. After multiple legal issues, Griffin embarks on a long trip through Alabama and Mississippi to further investigate racial...

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