Free Study Guide for Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin BookNotes|
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In this entry in his diary the author painfully, once again, describes his futile attempts at job-hunting over the last three days. He once again narrates the economics and politics of white racism whereby a Negro can "buy" any item from a drugstore, but he can never sit down and avail of the soda fountain service. The author describes how even a distinguished and famous Negro's humble request for water or his request to be given permission to use the toilet is refused. Instead, he is ordered to go to the nearest Negro cafe, or the nearest Negro rest room, which is usually halfway across town in densely populated areas, or simply non-existent in sparsely populated areas.
Then the author narrates another cruel and brutal aspect of racism -- the use and abuse of Negroes as beasts of burden. The Negroes are wanted only for hard menial labor, without giving them any individual or social rights or privileges. Here one can see how the whites are trying to drive the Negroes out of the plant and eventually out of the state. The white foreman here can be seen as a representative of the entire white society - a society which so completely believes in the subordinate status of the Negroes that they have developed a systematic plan to do away with them as one would do away with rodents or some disease.
The final part of today’s entry in the diary is the author’s description of the environment around him. How even this is colored according to the color of one’s skin. How as a privileged white he had found this beautiful Southern port town, very gracious and pretty. But now as a Negro nothing is the same. Griffin realizes that this is because of the attitude of the people towards him. The atmosphere of a place is entirely different for a Negro and a white. He comes to the conclusion that the Negro acts and reacts differently not because he is Negro, but because he is suppressed. "Fear dims even the sunlight."
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. 09 May 2017