Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
I cannot really remember how or where I came by this book, Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. However, I remembered being told by my mother about a white man who pretended to be black and people were rude and unkind to him because they thought he was black. I recall, even as a young child, thinking this was very odd. However, I was being raised on the liberal West Coast of California, not in the deep South of the USA.
John Howard Griffin was a white American journalist who is best known for his book “Black Like Me” . In this he details the experience of darkening his skin and travelling as a black man through through the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia in 1959. The racism that he encountered was so disturbing that he cut short the time he had allotted for this experiment.
John Howard Griffin took a radical stand against racism. Much of the white community at the time vilified him for it. His entire book was a marvelous sociological and journalistic investigation of relations between the races in the South in the 50s and 60s. It answered some questions , for example how did racist Christians justify their racism? The answer the author came up with was often racism hides under the guise of patriotism. The book also educates the reader on many key members of the civil rights movement.
The author makes the point that race has no scientifically proven bearing on intelligence or morality; it is the structure of the society we live in that makes us the person we are.
Racism was a big problem in the South. Still, I shocked to read how pervasive it was and what extreme forms it took. The fact that the White author could barely survive 6 weeks as a Black man shows how demoralizing it must have been to live as a Black person then.
This book is definitely something everybody should read. Racism is certainly not as prevalent as it was in the 1960s but it still exists. Our attitudes about people who are different from us must change. All people need to be given equal opportunities. If you have not yet read this book, make a point of doing so now: sadly, it is as relevant now as when it was written more than 50 years ago.
This is only one of the biographies reviewed on this site. Others include, As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/as-far-as-my-f…-james-m-bauer/, Wasted https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/wasted-by-mark-johnson/, Humble Pie Black Like Me https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/black-like-me-…howard-griffin/, https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/the-islamist-by-ed-hussain/, Tuesdays With Morrie https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/tuesdays-with-…by-mitch-albom/, I Don’t Mean To Be Rude But…https://bookreviewstoday.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/i-dont-mean-to…y-simon-cowell/, The Prince, The Princess and the Perfect Murder .
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