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Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me (1960)

by John Howard Griffin

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2,953521,944 (3.99)87
  1. 10
    The magnolia jungle; the life, times, and education of a southern editor by P. D. East (Cecrow)
  2. 10
    Lowest of the Low by Günter Wallraff (edwinbcn)
    edwinbcn: Similar partcicipating observation large scale undercover operations, disclosing racism in Europe and the US, respectively. Classic studies with a huge impact.

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I read this book in high school, and it played a role in my growing sensibilities about race and racism. It is a classic, and I am pleased to see (from reviews here and at Amazon) that it continues to educate and inform readers of all ages. ( )
1 vote danielx | Jun 13, 2017 |
I honestly think that every American High-School student should have to read this book. The entire concept is amazing, but the results it produces, along with the profound facts that come to light, makes it all the more worthwhile. This is an excellent book, no matter what the reason for reading it is. ( )
  J9Plourde | Jun 13, 2017 |
A well written classic, very thought provoking. Someone should re-do this experiment. Easy to listen to. ( )
  JBP11 | Nov 18, 2016 |
a must a book my dad loved and a book that I later read and loved as well . ( )
  jsnickola | Nov 12, 2016 |
For anyone who would think, "If I were black, I would do this or that," this book is an eye-opener. During the summer of 2016, I was contemplating the media attention on police-involved shootings of black people (particularly men). I kept hearing from one sid the message of "Just follow the directions of officers and this would not have happened," or something like that. I began pondering what I would do in that situation and came to the realization that I had no clue what I would do. It is easy to say that I would do something, but given the improbability (more likely impossibility) of that happening, it is pompous theorizing. As it happened, I ran across this book at a book store and picked it up.

It fascinated me that a white man would venture into the black world to see for himself what would happen. He did this in the late 1950s, a time of great tension over racial equality. Griffin had heard the mantra, "We don't judge people by their color; we judge them by their character and actions." So he decided (agains the advice of many) to put that mantra to the test. He consulted a dermatoligist to take medication that would darken his skin and make him appear black. He altered nothing else about who he was (other than shave his head to eliminate his "white" hair). He kept his name, clothes, etc. He quickly realized that the world judged him as a black man. The most agonizing part of this journey was that he judged himself by the color of his skin. He notes that the first time that he looked in to the mirror as a "black" man, he hated himself. Here was a man who by all accounts was very forward-thinking on the issue of racial equality, feeling a sense of disgust at his own appearance.

Through the book, the reader is taken on this journey from New Orleans to Mississippi to Atlanta and back as the man encountered anything but being judged on his merits. He then on a few occassions slipped back and forth between being white and black (based on the dosage of medication and sun exposure) to test his findings.

This book is a powerful reminder that still today, we often judge people by the most superficial of all physical characteristics (skin color). ( )
  w_bishop | Sep 22, 2016 |
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Rest at pale evening... A tall slim tree... Night coming tenderly... Black like me. --From "Dream Variation" Langston Hughes
First words
"This may not be all of it. It may not cover all of the questions, but it is what it is like to be a Negro in a land where we keep the Negro down." - preface
"For years the idea had haunted me, and that night it returned more insistently than ever."
"The most obscene figures are not the ignorant ranting racists, but the legal minds who front for them, who invent for them the legislative proposals and the propoganda bulletins. They deliberately choose to foster distortions, always under the guise of patriotism, upon a people who have no means of checking the facts."
"He cannot understand how the white man can show the most demeaning aspects of his nature and at the same time delude himself into thinking he is inherently superior."
"I learned within a very few hours that no one was judging me by my qualities as a human individual and everyone was judging me by my pigment."
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Book description
Haiku summary
Some drugs and makeup
Transform a white man to black
To learn of racism.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451208641, Paperback)

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line.  Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man.  His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In the Deep South of the 1950s, a color line was etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross that line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. What happened to John Howard Griffin-- from the outside and within himself-- as he made his way through the segregated Deep South is recorded in this searing work of nonfiction"--Back cover.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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