Black Like Me
Prices for book: Black Like Me
Book ISBN: 9780451192035
Author(s): John Howard Griffin
Document type: Mass Market Paperbound
Loading latest prices, please wait
Sad that it's true
This book was hard to get into. I was surprised at the difference in how people treated him when he was white vs. when he was black. I think it is so sad that racism is still alive. I know we don't live in a perfect world, but I just don't understand how people can continue to treat certain people with less respect only on the basis of skin color.
This book was recommended to me by a professor from my graduate program. I think everyone would benefit from reading this book and taking time to reflect on your own beliefs, attitudes, and actions.
A great historical and sociological read
I enjoyed re-reading this book, a nonfiction kind-of-documentary by John Griffin, a white journalist who reports on his travels throughout the South of the US in 1959. During this era of Jim Crow, segregation of Blacks and whites was commonplace in the South, and institutionalized discrimination against Blacks was too. However, what makes Griffin's book very unique is that he traveled in disguise as a black man in the South.
The book is an excellent study of many sociological issues and concerns of that time period in the US, and I was particularly struck by the compelling information of racism and sexism that Griffin objectively presents. Griffin introduces the reader to many stereotypes which were used to describe African-Americans during this journalistic odyssey. As with most stereotypes, the stereotypes presented in the book are based on ignorance and misunderstanding of African-American culture.
Griffin reports of a certain perverse curiosity that many whites had (and may possibly still have) regarding African-Americans. Unfortunately, Griffin chooses to present the reader with certain stereotypes without attempting to explain them. Such stereotypes, however, need to be carefully examined, in my opinion, to illustrate the dynamic interaction between racism and sexism, and to clearly see how racism and sexism are utilized in Black Like Me and in everyday life as mechanisms used by whites to discriminate against,and often times, victimize African-Americans.
Griffin, as a black man, speaks of the numerous encounters he experiences with white people. The vast majority of these interactions occur at night. Griffin writes, "A man [white] will reveal himself in the dark, which gives an illusion of anonymity, more than he will in the bright light." [Griffin, p. 85] Griffin refers to his encounters with white people as pornographic. In conversation, white men interrogate Griffin in hopes that he would reveal some mystic information concerning the lifestyle of sexual behavior of black people. From these experiences with white people, Griffin posits that these individuals believed that blacks were " an exhaustible sexual machine with over-sized genitals and a vast store of experiences, immensely varied." [Griffin, p. 85]
Griffin's nocturnal encounters with white men suggest that such sexual perverse curiosity was one means by which white men subordinated and exploited the black male. Centuries-old white mythology is also employed in the book to victimize blacks. That is, fearful white men established untruths which have been used throughout American history to impede African-American progress.
White mythology has been used to explain the unexplainable as well as to place the white man above other non-whites. History chronicles how white men used to portray the black male as an animal, a horse, a stallion possessing physical prowess, inexhaustible sexual appetite, and uncontrollable passions. In support of such mythology, Griffin recounts an incident when a white man asked him if he had ever had ever been with a white woman. When Griffin responded that he had never been with one, the white man states, "There's plenty of white women who would like to have a good buck Negro." [Griffin, p. 86]
Another established mythological portrayal is of the black female by white people. black women were perceived to be sensual, exotic, and extremely provocative. "...NOTICE!...it was only another list of prices a white man would pay for various types of sensuality with various ages of Negro girls." [Griffin, p. 81] Griffin reports that black women were greatly used and abused by white men, and frequently black women were also mistreated by their own race. Sadly, some black men, when paid a certain amount of money, would even assist white men procure black women and children.
In mythological terms, the black man was viewed as Apollo, the black woman was viewed as Venus, and the white woman was viewed as the Virgin Mary. These stereotypes which were devised by white men have not only caused significant problems for blacks, but also have caused problems for white people. Two more frequently employed stereotypes created by white men and given to blacks included the aggressive savage beast, and the docile child inferior to whites in all aspects. Many other stereotypes have been created and utilized by whites in the US to describe blacks, however, the previously mentioned ones are perhaps the most ingrained in the American psyche and the ones which surface in Griffin's work.
Although Griffin painted himself black on the outside and experienced many things which African-Americans experienced at that time, his interpretation of his collected data was from the perspective of a white man. Griffin's cultural orientation, ethnic heritage, gender and race were constantly with him at all times even if they were not always visible to the naked eye. Therefore, Griffin was only able to draw a conclusion from his darkened `white' feelings, reasoning, and senses.
Griffin's experiment stands as a testament to the wrongs which had been done to African-Americans during the Jim Crow era. I would recommend Black Like Me to anyone interested in investigating how white people perceived and treated African-Americans in the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the US.
Bryan D. Freehling (Amazon.com)
I feel like ive read nearly every book there is on racism. It is rare for me to feel as if ive read something of that nature with a new angle, but this book suprised me. What I love is that Griffin writes with little to no favortism, the style is very objective. A minor classic.
Chris Spencer (Amazon.com)
Great book. Really gets at the heart of a lot of social justice issues by putting faces and names to the ideas. Definitely recommend it.
Cory Wright (Amazon.com)
amazing tale that is as relevant now as it was then
This is an amazing story of a white man who darkened his skin and traveled the deep south as a black man, in a time of segregation and other racial unrest.
This is an amazing tale and one that is as relevant today as it was when it was written. The racism of today's world might not be as open as accepted, but it's still there and, like it or not, all of us are judging people all the time. Because of this, I think there are some amazing lessons within the pages of this book, which will challenge your thinking and make you reevaluate the way you deal with people.
Would love to see somebody do this today. I think it would make an excellent companion to how things have (or haven't) changed.
Anna Hendrix (Amazon.com)
Look no further! You will find millions of the best cheap books online right here. Whether you're searching for used college textbooks, used books, new books or used textbooks for sale we have it!
* Shipping will vary in such stores. Consult the store's website for details.
^ This item is part of an auction and its price might go up at anytime.