Book Reports / Black Like Me

Black Like Me

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Autor:  anton  25 March 2011
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Words: 792   |   Pages: 4
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BLM - Reaction

My personal reaction to the book titled, “Black Like Me” written by John Howard Griffin is as followed. At first I was amazed and shocked to know that this study was taken in the southern parts of the United States, not many years ago. This was conducted during a time when my parents would have experienced this abuse, had they live here in the United States. I personally feel that no matter how it is presented, racism is wrong. Whether it is perceived through direct discrimination, insulting looks or personal attacks on a person’s character all of these are wrong. As a native of Haiti, I have never been personally faced with any forms of racism in my own country. In Haiti, though we share many similar values and morals of American’s and though we have three class levels in society, we pretty much see all human beings as the same. On the other hand, when I arrived to the United States, the only form of this unfair treatment I received was from African American’s.

I found it hard to believe that the racism issues mentioned in this book actually exist here in the United States. It is apparent that America has been living with blindfolds in order to have not seen what was actually happening in their own country. For Griffin to undergo such a profound transformation was an excellent way for white America to rethink how unfair racism really is. Though Griffin attempted to shed light on the troubles and conflicts of white and black American’s, I’m sure there are some who still respond with disbelief. Believing that what they were doing at this time in history was right. In cases of such, many white American’s only feel the impact of discrimination when they are personally discriminated against. This is what is known as reverse discrimination.

As I continued to read, the messages in this book were beginning to become clear to me as I wanted to know much more about how this treatment originated. I had expected to feel a sense of relief being that I am not from America, but I found myself being placed into the shoes of others. I could relate to the rude attitudes and blank stares that Griffin received from white American’s. As mentioned previously, these type attitudes and facial expressions are what I experienced from many African American’s working in the customer service industry. The minute I would open my mouth and my accent is heard is when it would happen. I don’t know if their actions are based upon preconceived notions of Haitians or if it is solely based upon their level of education and or ignorance. Interestingly enough and as the book mentions, this type of discrimination is seen throughout the race itself, when it battles the light vs. the dark African American’s.

In the instance of were the white bus driver would not allow blacks off the bus to use the rest stop, I found it hard to believe that this was not many years ago. I my opinion, depriving a person of basic human rights and needs are the lowest form of inhuman treatment. I compared this treatment to that of a dog, even as man’s best friend, a dog would expect better treatment than this. My emotions began to change a little when I read of how Mr. Sterling Williams, a black man, embraced the efforts of Griffin and became his friend. I’m not sure if it was because Williams thought Griffin was black or if he indeed had genuine concern for others, regardless of their ethnical origination.

In my conclusion, being branded and held prisoner by the color of your skin is certainly what Griffin experienced as he took on this task of addressing the racial issues in America. Additionally, I was touched to reading about the high suicide rate amongst African American’s. I concluded that the impact of racism is also associated with self-esteem and life’s worth. When a person is held down for so long and for many obvious reasons other than racism, they often resort to desperate attempts to try and escape these pressures. Such attempts may also be seen in crime rates, gang violence, domestic attacks and unnatural rage. This leaves me to better understand my responsibility as an American citizen in order that I might treat people fairly; and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Don’t judge me by the color of my skin, but the content of my heart.”



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