Deeply committed to the cause of racial justice and frustrated by his inability as a white man to understand the black experience, Griffin decides to take a radical step: After securing the support of his wife and of George Levitan, the editor of a black-oriented magazine called Sepia which will fund Griffin's experience in return for an article about it, Griffin sets out for New Orleans to begin his life as a black man. He finds a contact in the black community, a soft-spoken, articulate shoe-shiner named Sterling Williams, and begins a dermatological regimen of exposure to ultraviolet light, oral medication, and skin dyes. Eventually, Griffin looks in the mirror and sees a black man looking back.
He also shows the ugliness of racists, their personalities distorted by hatred. This internalized racism on the part of African-Americans is even more sinister in some ways, as it makes blacks despise their own skin.
A final evil that Griffin warns against is black racism against whites. If blacks begin to hate whites or to preach black superiority over whites, they will only worsen the problem of racial hatred.
There are good-hearted people on both sides, and it is only by open and loving communication, and not more hatred, that the evil of racism will eventually be overcome. We work against one another instead of together.
Griffin observes in Atlanta how unified effort and consolidated financial power improves the community. For instance, on the bus, when the white driver refuses to let them off for a rest stop, the black passengers band together.
Unity, he suggests, helps them get through the tough times. Religion as a Refuge Throughout the book, Christianity is shown as a refuge against the poison of racism.
The soft, warm light and faint fragrance of incense give an impression of peace and calm. Inside, blacks and whites are equally welcome.
The church seems so welcoming that Griffin is tempted to go inside and sleep in one of the pews. Later, a black Reverend tells him that New Orleans is less racist than other Southern cities because of the Catholic influence. At the end of his journey, his heart saddened by his experience with racism, Griffin finds refuge in a Trappist monastery.
The Trappists, a sect of Catholic monks, welcome both black and white. The message Griffin conveys is that religion, if properly practiced, is a refuge from, and weapon against, racial hatred. Griffin, who was himself a Christian, acknowledges that there are those people who attempt to distort the messages of Christianity to fit their hateful ideology, but this is not the true message of the religion.
He looks up to courageous journalists such as P. East in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Ralph McGill of Atlanta who use their newspapers to take a public stand for right and justice.
Change can never come, Griffin asserts, while the public is misinformed by racist propaganda and when newspapers print only what they think readers want. Griffin himself took a great personal risk by pursuing the project chronicled in Black Like Me.
Ultimately, he was ostracized by his own community for telling the truth about the racism he experienced in the South. He was threatened and even suffered a brutal beating by the Ku Klux Klan in Black Like Me Skin Color What is the value of skin color?
In the biological point of view, it is worth nothing. In the social point of view, it represents community standings, dignity, confidence or something people have never imagined. Black Like Me: Essay Q&A, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
Jan 24, · John Howard Griffin - The narrator, author, and protagonist of Black Like Me, and in some ways its only significant character, Griffin is a middle-aged white Southerner with a passionate commitment to the cause of racial justice in the year Status: Resolved.
Black Like Me Homework Help Questions. What are some major events in Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin? Some major events in Black Like Me include .
Essays and criticism on John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me - Critical Essays. Summary. John Howard Griffin, the author and main character of Black Like Me, is a middle-aged white man living in Mansfield, Texas in Deeply committed to the cause of racial justice and frustrated by his inability as a white man to understand the black experience, Griffin decides to take a radical step: he decides to undergo medical treatment to change the color of his skin and.