Racism is a big part of this book. It shows the absurdity of what people thought back then, which is an important lesson. It is important for us to learn what people’s views used to be, and how important it is not to go back to that mindset.
Racism has been a debated topic throughout the years. There have been many questions about if racism is a communal structured method of categorizing and separating people or if it is a learned or inherited behavior. The word has so many different meaning to each person affected by it. According to Miles and Brown, “The concept of racism is heavily negatively loaded, morally and politically” (3). All the way through history, racism has generated grief for those who fall victim to the problem. “Kindred” by Octavia Butler explains how a black woman is able to take a journey back in time to encounter and witness slavery up close and personal. In Natasha Trethewey “Bellocq's Ophelia”, the reader is able to recognize Ophelia’s yearning to be seen as a white woman opposed to a very fair-skinned black women. both Ophelia and Dana encounter racism and stereotypes. “During both of these women’s journeys throughout the stories, they have to face issues and hardships concerning their race in many different ways.”
Black Like Me In the Fall of 1959, John Howard Griffin set out on a journey of discovery. A discovery of his own nature, as well as a discovery of human nature. With the help of a friend, Griffin transformed his white male body into that of an African-American male body. Through a series of medical treatments, the transformation was complete.
Both authors explore examples in which they are treated in a racist or discriminatory manner. Brent Staples encountered a younger woman and “came upon her late one evening on a deserted street… she cast back a worried glance… picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest.” (Staples 1) Just the mere sight of him made the woman scared, after this experience he feels “surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed all at once. Her flight made me feel like an accomplice in tyranny.” (2) He realizes that he is “indistinguishable from the muggers...” (2), or at least to the woman. Staples experiences, first hand, discrimination; the woman is fearful of him because of his race, and Staples feels the full effect of that. Gloria Naylor recounts the first time she was ever called the N-word. It was in class and she she says “she couldn’t have been more puzzled.” She “didn’t know what a nigger was,” but she did know “it was something he shouldn't have called” her (Naylor 3). She was thoroughly confused and later asked her mother what the word meant. Naylor is treated poorly due to the color of her skin. Similarly to Staples,
John Howard Griffin, the author and main character of “Black Like Me”, is a middle-aged white man who is living in Mansfield, Texas in 1959. Deeply devoted to the finding justice for racism and frustrated by his inability as a white man to understand the black experience, Griffin decides to take stand: he decides to change the color of his skin and temporarily become a black man. 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, Eventually, Griffin looks in the mirror and sees a black man looking back. He briefly panics, feeling that he has lost his identity, and then he sets out to explore the black community.
Reading the content in this book made me get a picture of what it was like to be a colored person in this time. My eyes were opened to the meaning of the word “nigga”. Nigga is such a derogatory term, yet now-a-days it is used by people so much. Kids in this generation use it as a term of endearment when they see their friends, or they say it when they are shocked by something. Frankly, I don’t believe they know how serious it really is. The fact that white people could look at a person and see less than a human being when they did nothing wrong distresses me. They (white people) treated them as if they were property and below them. Even though we don’t have racism to this extent
The reason I chose this book was because the title jumped up at me and my curiosity was aroused. I wanted to find out more about it. I was also drawn to the fact that the book was based on a true story. True stories interest me a lot and I instantly knew that I wanted to read this book. I also noticed that the book was a best seller and sold thousands of copies. As I read this book I’m glad that I choose it because it broadened my perspective on racism and the lengths that an individual is willing to go to in order to personally experience or understand a situation. This book has clearly
The narrator of The Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man was born to a “colored” mother and white father. This combination of his identity led him to encounter many internal and external challenges. Physically he appeared white, so he experienced being able to “pass” as both “colored” or white whenever he wished. Being able do such a thing, the narrator struggled with racial boundaries. He embodied almost every permutation, intentional or unintentional, of the experience when encountering various racial (white and “colored”) communities, eventually deciding to pass as white at the end of the novel. Due to cowardice, instead of representing his race, he suppressed the African-American part of his identity and destroyed his chances of
Life on the Color Line is a powerful tale of a young man's struggle to reach adulthood, written by Gregory Howard Williams - one that emphasizes, by daily grapples with personal turmoil, the absurdity of race as a social invention. Williams describes in heart wrenching detail the privations he and his brother endured when they were forced to remove themselves from a life of White privilege in Virginia to one where survival in Muncie, Indiana meant learning quickly the cold hard facts of being Black in skin that appeared to be White. This powerful memoir is a testament to the potential love and determination that can be exhibited despite being on the cusp of a nation's racial
The discriminating social stratification in 1950’s developed a set of servile behavior on the blacks. They were thought to be inferior to whites, and were treated accordingly. Moreover, different parts of the country had various ranges of sensitivities while dealing with the blacks. For example, in Mississippi things were particularly tense after the Parker lynch case. No black man would dare look into any white man’s eyes in fear of the repercussions. On the bus, a man warned Griffin to watch himself closely until he caught onto Mississippi’s ways. In an extreme case like this, it was vital to learn about their roles and behave accordingly.
I have always thought about myself as just a person. After taking this course, I think of myself as a white person. To me, being colorblind and attempting to look at everyone as just a person, were ways I avoided being racist. This course, taught by Dr. Bianca Williams, has enabled me to change my views on racism and race to a move correct outlook. I now understand that it is my duty to be able to acknowledge my race and other identities and the privileges that come with being a white, middle class, heterosexual person. I used to think that interpersonal racism was the main problem in the United States, but after this course realize that institutional racism is the problem. This course, coupled with readings from Devon W. Carbado on his piece titled “Privilege”, Beverly Daniel Tatum’s article titled “Talking about Race, Learning about Racism”, Brittney Cooper’s article on “The Politics of Black Women’s Hair” and Audre Lorde’s article called “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”, I have shifted my views on race and racism to a more constructive and correct outlook.
What if we could walk in each other’s shoes? What if we could truly understand what our brothers and sisters are going through? These questions and more are what John Howard Griffin strived to answer when he surgically changed his complexion to resemble that of a black man in his book, Black Like Me. He set out to write a biting commentary about the state of race in the United States, but what he experienced changed his life forever. Griffin learned two very valuable lessons that dominated his experience; good can exist in the midst of suffocating evil and to bridge the gap between races there must be mutual understanding. To analyze such a powerful book, I will start with a summary and then explain my thoughts on the text.
Claudia Rankine analyze racism to its core, bringing to surface that miniscule event are just as problematic as televised one. Her words are beautifully brutal, striking up emotions for anyone that reads it. As readers we are taken through a journey from past to present events of racial incidents experienced by different genders and ages. Above all, Claudia provides a strong indication that racism is far from over.
In conclusion, The book was a good read although, I could not really identify with the main character and can honestly say that times have changed. I think there will always be racism in the world but with people like Daisy Bates, Ruth Simmons, Toni Morrison, Thurgood Marshall, and Barrack Obama. The late Richard Wright would be
The book stated that racism was nothing more than a psychological disorder that whites had. This disorder started at an early age and was basically embedded inside of us on both a conscious and unconscious level. It shocked me that this was said and it made me feel angry. Yes, us as whites do not know how it feels to be on the other side. We cannot understand, analyze or explain the basics of racism except for the fact that a lot of us are and none of us know why. We have no idea what it feels like to be looked at differently because of our skin. We do not know what it feels like to be declined the right to eat in a nice restaurant, how it is to use nasty bathrooms while others use clean ones, or what it is like to be told to move by someone of the opposite skin color so they can have your seat because you were not allowed to sit there. We do not know anything about racism except for its