All men are created equal. John Griffin’s “Black Like Me” shows how racism is nothing more than the foolish misunderstanding of man.
White’s current superiority hangs in the balance as blacks become tired of being the minority in the late 1950s. 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 that he could no longer stand.
What was life truly like for a black man in the deep south? John sought the real answer to this by darkening his skin with extreme amounts of medication. A new skin color determined everything, and John was now thrown into a new world for which he was in no way prepared. He was no longer John, an average but respected white novelist; he was a black man, and that was all that mattered. Simple pleasures like a drink of water or the use of a restroom became near impossible. At first, John was puzzled by this, but he soon realized that it was not his personality or 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 not have 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 are completely unnecessary, but it remains because the whites have never been exposed to any other way of life. This is why the whites cannot allow such common privileges to Mr. Griffin or any other black person. To treat a black person 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 fate. This desire for action only stirs greater terror within the 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. It’s strange to think that most blacks thought a white person 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 people’s voices, and overall rejection. Who could have thought that a black person could have the same job opportunities and living standards? For those racist whites who have a pathetic pride in their incomparable skin color and fear of change, groups like the Ku Klux Klan exist. It is comforting to know that this despicable attitude no longer holds the majority. Yes, certain racial beliefs were awful in the 50s and 60s, but it’s 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 still around but do not expose themselves publicly as they did in the past for obvious reasons. Today, racism is not about little things that white people take for granted, such as drinking water or a nice place to stay for the night. It is more about fair trials and equal job or education opportunities. The hard fact of our diverse country hinders most racial discrepancies. Most people cannot be called just black or just white anymore but a mix of the two.
If a person were to make a racist comment, whether white or black, they would most likely be bashing their own ethnic origin. This will be even greater as generations continue. Racism won’t disappear altogether 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 other’s feelings.
Due to the unfair treatment of blacks, things began to change. Now, with changing generations and greater diversity among people, things have changed and will continue to do so. The misconception of one race being any better than another, perhaps, is the only thing that separates us from world peace.