Black Like Me by John Griffin

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateB+, October 1996

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All men are created equal... or are they? John Griffin's 'Black Like Me' shows how

racism is nothing more then the foolish misunderstanding of man. White's current superiority

hangs in the balance as Blacks become tired of being the minority, in the late 1950's. Even though

this struggle isn't as dreadful as it was then, it still exists. The certainty of racism can't be ignored

but it will soon disappear as generations mix. Racial discrepancies challenge the unity of human


John Griffin had a biting curiosity which he could no longer stand. What was life truly

like, for a black man in the deep south? He sought the real answer to this by darkening his skin

with extreme amounts of medication. A new skin color determines everything and John is now

thrown into a new world that he was in no way prepared for. He was no longer John, an average

but respected white novelist, he was a black man and that is all that mattered.

Simple pleasers like

a drink of water or the use of a restroom become near impossible. John, at first was puzzled by

this, but soon realized that it was not his personality, his age, but his blackness that made him a

disgrace in the eyes of an average white person. If he were white, a white store owner would

have not hesitated in the slightest to allow such privileges. How could these people be so blind as

to not see that a black person breathes the same air, eats the same food, and has the same internal

functions as themselves? This misunderstanding stares them in the face and they can't see it.

Their selfishness and fear is completely unnecessary but it remains because the whites have never

been exposed to any other way...