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Black Like Me By John Howard Griffin (For Us History I Ap)

972 words - 4 pages

Greg PellisU.S. History I APMr. VoloninnoDue 9/20/04Black Like Me EssayWhat is unacceptable? It is merely what is considered socially normal. It may be perceived any way you want, but there is no real defenition of what it is. Today, we see acceptable as treating everybody fairly, giving equal opportunities to all, and not discriminating due to race, religion, or creed. But it was not always like that, as we have seen thanks to John Howard Griffin's brave act of investigating what it meant to be black in the Deep South.In disguise as an African-American, John Howard Griffin encountered many situations that would be considered unacceptable today, but back in the late 1950s, it was considered completely permissible to put down and degrade people of other races. As a black man, Mr. Griffin was denied the use of a restroom multiple times, because it was for white clientele only. This highly discriminatory practice was all too common in the Southern United States of America before the Civil Rights Bill was passed.Mr. Griffin also unearthed trouble when he attempted to cash a twenty-dollar traveler's check. A woman behind the counter, who had pleasantly served him many times as a white man, refused to cash his check merely because he was black. Eventually, a woman in a religious bookstore cashed it for him.The most serious problem was the whites completely ignoring the blacks unless they were directly confronted by them. This shows that the whites believed that they held racial superiority above the blacks. If it were not for this attitude, whites and blacks probably could have lived together in peace before being forced to by the government.As a white man in the Deep South, Mr. Griffin also encountered many problems. As stated above, he was completely ignored by blacks as he was by whites when he was black. In the rare case he regularly talked to an African-American, that person didn't let Mr. Griffin see the real person inside, and was merely courteous and attempting to avoid trouble.As when he was a black in white territory, Mr. Griffin received the so-called "hate stares" as a white in black territory. Blacks blamed whites for segregation, whites blamed blacks, but the truth was, they were both to blame. If both sides of the color line had worked together and both tried to be courteous and kind to the other race, segregation would have been a thing of the past in the past.Lastly, as a white man in the black quarter of the city, Mr. Griffin was completely ignored by businessmen who catered essentially to the black patronage and did not want anything to do with a white customer. They probably feared that he would scare of their black customers.As a whole, Mr. Griffin received racist remarks and acts against him when he was both black and white. Blacks believed they were getting revenge for what was done by the...

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