What is the value of skin color? In the biological point of view, it is worth nothing. In the social point of view, it represents community standings, dignity, confidence or something people have never imagined. In the story Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin, a white Southern reporter, who is the author and the main character, experienced an unforgettable journey in the Deep South. Mr. Griffin has a heart, which is filled with curiosity; he therefore undertook a significant project.
He took several medical treatments to change his skin pigments from white to black in order to write a report. To create a successful project, Griffin had to leave his wife to be a temporary African American. Being an African American brought him many unfair encounters. However, after he changed back to a Caucasian, the attitude of everyone had immediately turned, and they treated him well. Mr. Griffin felt bad, and he told everyone about his experiences by writing books and attending press interviews. Throughout these hard times, one can read this book and find out the characteristics of the author, how he saw the light bulb, and the truth that he wanted people to understand.
Mr. Griffin was a middle age white man who lived with his wife and children. He was not oriented to his family. He decided to pass his own society to the black society. Although this decision might help most of the African Americans, he had to sacrifice his gathering time with his family. “She offered, as her part of the project, her willingness to lead, with our three children, the unsatisfactory family life of a household deprived of husband and father” (Griffin 9).
Leaving Mrs. Griffin and his children would deprive them of the care they needed. Even though he was not oriented to his family, he was full of courage. He was willing to discuss topics that people hesitated to talk about, trying new ideas that people were afraid to do. After turning back to his own skin color, he attended most media conferences and also wrote books about what he had gone through.
During those interviews, Griffin was very considerate. He requested Wallace, a reporter, to report carefully so that he would not hurt his African American friends. “Please… Don’t mention those names on the air. I’d be afraid their lives would be endangered, and they were my friends” (Griffin 149). In addition, he was a man who never gave up. He insisted on remaining among the black people despite how he was looked down upon by the whites.
Griffin was very civilized. He would not use violence to solve the problem, even if he were treated badly by the whites. He gained success after conquering over all of the difficulties, and his persistence should be taken as an example by the people of today.
During adverse circumstances, Mr. Griffin saw the reality of the cruel world. On his way to Mississippi, he rode on a bus, and there was a ten-minute break. He asked the driver whether he could go to the restroom or not. The driver forbade him and commanded him to go back to his seat. Then, Griffin tries to argue with him. “No sir, but the others — you mean I can’t go to the”(Griffin 63)— He did not have a chance to argue, because the driver kept on interrupting him.
From this incident Griffin realized that the blacks always did not have a chance to protest. In addition, after he turned back to a white, in the same place the same people treated him totally different surprisingly! He was so shocked when everyone surrounded him with smiles and courtesy because he forgot that he was not a black. “I was the same man who could not possibly have bought his way into this room a week ago” (Griffin 122). People should not judge a man by only his or her skin color. Although they have different colors, it does not represent that they have a bad heart.
The author wanted people to understand that there were many unfair cases in the world, but everyone has to be brave to face it. He once read a case from the newspaper. In Mississippi, there was a white man who killed a black man, but he was released. In fact, besides the Deep South, there were many similar cases. Racism is getting more serious in this world. People should care about each other regardless of their nationality, then the universe will become more harmonious. Moreover, people should learn from Griffin’s bravery. He was willing to tell everyone what he experienced and how white people do wrong. Everyone should always strive for the rights, which they deserve.
Black Like Me was a very touching, adventurous, enlightened, famous book. I have never been discriminated by someone. However, my friend has experienced this pitiful fate. Being discriminated by someone is not hard to bear with. Furthermore, I believe that this is a very persuasive book for recommending to friends. In Mr. Griffin’s report, readers can clearly see what was happening to the African Americans in those days, how much effort they have to put in order to survive in that cruel world. After reading this book, one might change to a better point of view. Finally, one will realize how brave the author was, how he found the truth and the fact that he wanted everyone to know.