Report on book titled black li

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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How did the book make you feel and what did you think about as you read it? Were you secure in your feelings or uneasy about them? Explain.

While I sat back and read this book feelings in me became more and more evident as I went on in my reading. I am no where near "ok" with any type of racism and all of the things that happened to John upset me in the deepest fashion. It truly touched me and angered me at the same time. It makes me want to know this wonderful man. To be a relative, to be his friend, and to of helped him somehow in his conquest. I feel that if I were alive then, whether I was Black, White, Asian, or a Purple People Eater, I would have done something to help him in some fashion. I think that I am more of a leader than a follower… more of an activist.

I stand for my rights as well as other people's rights.

I was very secure in my feelings through the book in that I was brought up to have an open mind about others racial backgrounds as well as my own. The whole concept of someone disliking someone else due to a racial difference baffles me. Differences between people are the one thing that holds are species together. We embrace it, but yet use it to discriminate, separate, and emotionally destroy others.

In Black Like Me, John was a white man that stepped into the dark dismal life of a black man in the Southern region of the United States. He thought that he had prepared for it but nothing could prepare him for the hard life of desperation, lewd and ludicrous comments, aw well as hate stares that had no basis for even existing except for pure ignorance.

When contemplating over what I would do in the various situations that he encountered in his travels throughout the south, I realized that I would have been murdered due to a lack of respect for anyone who had a lack of respect to me. I would have psychologically snapped on someone somewhere along the line and lost control. I like to debate over things with others and argue my point until it is at least seen why I feel the way that I do, even if the person(s) so not feel the same way as I do.

I feel as if sitting back and letting bigotry and hatred hover over people like a rain cloud waiting to explode into a monsoon is worse than saying all the snide remarks that kill a mans good heart. No man should have to be put under such harsh ridicule simply for being born with his parent's heritage. Under no circumstances is it morally right to purposely, repeatedly, bash someone for something, anything, never mind something that they cannot control or change.

This world evolved form one-celled organisms to forests with dinosaurs. Nature has changed to accommodate our arrival, is there any reason why we cannot accommodate to live and be happy with what nature is handing to us… each other? When you get down to the bare basics, the human race as a whole is a family. Families need to learn, love and aide each other when in need, not knock them down.

Supposedly we are the most advanced, most intelligent species on the planet. For some reason I do not believe that we are. Other species whose brain cells multiply ten times less than ours do still do not alienate the way that we do. In certain circumstances some animals will, for example if one does something against the group they will be briefly alienated. This still is nothing like what humans do to each other. If ignorance is bliss, then why do so many suffer? When that question is answered, and people use their intelligence to the fullest, then I will stop speaking and think of my species a little higher. When the wars stop, and the hatred is gone, only then will I not complain, not write in my notebooks of hope, not contemplate the way things should be. Until that day comes I will try to get my voice to be heard. I will help those in need, and try to live the most satisfying life I can live.

Could you have become this involved in the race issue just to write a newspaper or magazine article? Defend your answer.

To become involved like John Griffin did simply for a magazine would be ludicrous. He put his life on the line as well as his family's lives. John had another purpose he wanted to serve when he set out on the mission. He wanted to see what it was like and share it with everyone else so that maybe some of the injustice in America would dissipate. Putting your family at risk, and your own life if your identity is found out is hard to swallow. When I really pick this apart and get down to the bare bones of it, he was putting people's lives on the line for something, but it was for an entire ethnic group. All African-Americans from that time had to appreciate what John was doing to some extent. He was a well off white man taking the lives of his family and placing them into the proverbial frying pan and all for a piece of humanity that should not have to be begged for. It doesn't matter what ethnic background you may carry, it's the person that you are that should matter. For some reason, why I'm not all so sure, not everyone believes in that concept. They might when they are being discriminated against, but not when someone else is.

Compare racism during the late 1950's to the racism of today. Give specific examples of situations from the book and from today's news reports.

The racism of today is less vocalized then it was in the 1950's. In the 1950's it was a trend to some extent to be racist. Today it is very rare for people to openly espouse racist philosophy. The word "racist" has acquired a very negative undertone and is even somewhat derogatory. Someone can be a racist regardless of their religion, intelligence, cultural level, social status, and benevolence towards members of their own race or social motivation. In Black Like Me John talked about a 'hate stare' that seemed to have shook him in a way that is almost unimaginable.

White Southerners automatically assumed that John was not intelligent because of his skin color, and that might have been tolerated in the early 1900's but today there are civil laws that citizens of the United States must abide by. In 1946, with the support of the NAACP, Herman Marion Sweatt applied for admission to The University of Texas School of Law. The University registrar rejected his application because Sweatt was an African American and The University of Texas was a segregated institution. Sweatt, with NAACP counsel, sued. Although Sweatt lost in state court, the United States Supreme Court on June 5th, 1950 ordered the integration of The University of Texas School of Law and also The University's Graduate School. This case set the precedence for all other institutions and made it possible for African-Americans to attend these schools.

Recently the prevalent racism that has been in the news has been hate crimes. For example a Caucasian male chained an African-American male to the back of a vehicle and killed him by driving with him chained to the back. Things like this make the honest citizen shudder in disgust. Fortunately people like him get punished with long jail time, and even death. Most of the hate crimes lately are not geared towards African-Americans or other 'minorities' but to gay and lesbians. To me there is no difference between the two different kinds of injustice. They are both wrong and narrow-minded.

Define racism. Show how this definition has changed over the last 40 years.

Racism, by standard definition is "The thought or belief that one race is better than another race." To me racism is a predisposed theory of another that is unchangeable in the narrow-minded individual.

Back in the 1950's the individual that is 'racist' is not an individual at all. Back then it was a trend to not be open-minded. Stubbornness was a virtue it seems in that even though someone was kind hearted, they did not want to look kind hearted in front of their peers. Its like when early teenagers try drugs. They feel pressured and feel as if they have to do what the others are doing or the results might be that they become shunned.

In today's society racism is frowned upon. There is no specific point to make reference to when asked to tell someone when the turning point was for African-Americans and racism. I don't believe that there is one. It was like bread rising, the levels of unjust rose to a level that was not tolerable by any means, and then it slowly came down. The bread of racism will never lay entirely flat or flush with the pan. African-Americans slowly received many different rights as the air came out of the bread. Respect came with Martin Luther King Jr. and all the people who stood by his side as he spoke for freedom.

Describe how the face of the United States will look 40 years from now. What color will it be in 2040? The face of the United States as of right now has no specific color. This is the country of immigrants. We have so many different races and ethnic backgrounds that take up this country that is has no specific color. A long time ago, it was mostly English settlements. Then came the French and so on. Now we have people from all over the world that speak many different languages. In 2040 I expect they're to be even more diversity then we already have. On the racial level I do not expect mush of a change. As time goes on the generations that slowly take over are more and more open-minded, making the world a little bit easier to live in for everyone. I do not expect the world to a happy-go-lucky place, but I do expect something better then what we have had in the past.