g of ManAll 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 civilization.
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 of life. This is why the whites can not allow such common
privileges to Mr. Griffin or any other black person. To treat a black as an
equal was absolutely unheard of.
Fatigued from rejection and many actions which would be declared
unconstitutional, the blacks must do something so their future generations do
not suffer the same. This desire for action only stirs a greater terror within
the (racist) white community. People like, Martin Luther King Jr. begin to
surface. He and many others aspire to show the blacks that they are equal human
beings. Its strange to think that most blacks thought a white was better just
because that is what they were brought up to believe. This new realization
completely jeopardizes the supremacy of the white community. The book gives
many examples of this fear/hatred such as, “The hate stare”, the tone of peoples
voices, and the over all rejection. Who could have thought that a black person
could have the same job opportunities and the same living standards? For those
racist whites who have a pathetic pride in there incomparable skin color and
fear of change is why groups like the Ku Klux Klan exist. It is comforting to
know that this despicable attitude is no longer holding the majority.
Yes, certain racial beliefs were awful in the 50’s and 60’s but its not
over yet, some still exist today. People who still feel they are fighting the
Civil War, also believe in the segregation of the black community. Hate groups
such as the KKK and Neo Nazis are around but don’t expose themselves publicly as
they had in the past for obvious reasons. Today racism isn’t about little
things that white people take for granted, such as drinking water or a nice
place to stay for the night, its more about fair trial and equal job or
education opportunities. The hard fact of our diverse country hinders most
racial discrepancies. Most people anymore can no longer be called just black or
just white but a mix of the two. If a person were to make a racist comment
whether white or black, they will most likely be bashing their own ethnic origin.
This will be even grater as generations continue. Racism won’t disappear all
together but can be diminished by the brotherhood of man.
John Griffin took a chance and discovered something outrageous which he
never expected. The real life for those in the deep south was concealed under a
complete misunderstanding of each others feelings. Due to the unfair treatment
to the blacks things begin to change. Now with changing generations and a
greater diversity among people, things have changed and will continue to do so.
The misconception of one race being any better then another perhaps, is the only
thing that separates us from world peace.