Black like me Report

In the book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin the reader can experience life on the other side of the color line through his words. John Griffin was an author who became another person so he could tell the story of being a black man in the 1950’s south. He went to a dermatologist and took pills to darken his skin tone; he used a sun lamp to darken it more. With these methods he became black. He then traveled down to the south to live as an unemployed writer and experience first hand what the south was like for the black race. He befriended most black people and was ignored by most white people. In the middle of the story he stops being black and whitens his skin, now he goes back and goes through the south as a white person. He is surprised how different he is treated. He can now no longer go into the black neighborhood but he can stay in the nicest white hotels and be treated like a person. He notices how people act differently towards him and how his emotions are always scared and uncertain on what to do.
John Griffin, in the beginning of the story is a white man from a nice neighborhood with a wife and two kids. He is medium height but very large around the middle. He is a writer with a successful career. He has an adventurous spirit and likes to go far with his ideas and push things to the limits. He knows a lot about different subjects because he is after all a writer. “With my decision to become a Negro I realized that I, a specialist in race issues, really knew nothing about the Negro’s real problem” (Griffin 8). John Griffin is a writer so throughout the story he is very descriptive and uses a lot of detailed explanations. In the beginning of his adventure he is very scared and intimidated about traveling into the south. He is scared about the people he will meet and also about how people will react to him. “From the shadows, the figure of a white man emerged. Should I nod and say ‘Good Evening,’ or simply ignore him?” (Griffin 17). He soon realizes that there is a certain code that black people follow. So Griffin has to discover this code and follow it. He is treaty badly by white people and that is no surprise to him. He is stunned by their lack of sympathy for the black people. “At each bus stop, I sounded the buzzer, but the driver continued through the next two stops. He drove me eight full blocks past my original stop and pulled up only then for the white passengers” (Griffin 48).
Griffin’s moment of epiphany was when he realized that he was now a black man and that he had crossed the line and he could not go back in his mind.
“In the flood of light against the white tile, the face and shoulders of a stranger-a fierce, bald, very dark Negro-stared at me from the glass. He in no way resembled me. The transformation was total and shocking. I had expected to see myself disguised, but this was something else. I was imprisoned by the flesh of an utter stranger, an unsympathetic one with whom I felt no kinship. All traces of the John Griffin I had been were wiped from existence. Even the senses underwent a change so profound it filled me with distress. I looked into the mirror and saw reflected nothing of the white John Griffin’s past. No, the reflections led back to Africa, back to the shanties and the ghetto, back to the fruitless struggles against the mark of blackness. Suddenly, almost with no mental preparation, no advanced hint, it became clear and permeated my whole being. My inclination was to fight against it. I had gone too far. I knew now that there is no such thing as a disguised white man, when the black won’t rub off. The black man is wholly a Negro, regardless of what he once may have been. I was a newly created Negro who must go out that door and live