Free Study Guide for Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin BookNotes|
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Todayís entry in the dairy is about a historic decision by the author to stop the medication and allow his skin to become lighter gradually with time, as he has had more than enough of hate and hostility from the whites. This is a turning point in the book for the author after three weeks of excruciating Negroness.
The authorís decision to once more become a white man is nerve-wracking. He gives the readers a chilling example. While walking on a street, he runs into a Negro teenager who, fearing harassment or harm automatically pulls out a switchblade in self-defense.
Meanwhile when the author enters an elegant white hotel, in his white reincarnation, now no one snubs him. In fact a Negro spontaneously rushes to carry his knapsack and bow and scrape before him. After three weeks of continuous degradation, he considers this change as a miracle.
The author leaves the hotel at night, as the sight of a white man leaving a black locality might cause trouble. The author here compares and contrasts life and living once again as a white, with what he has been experiencing for the last three weeks as a Negro. He dramatically describes the taut tension he now feels when he passes a Negro teenager on the street, the same that he felt earlier when a white bully was stalking him. Only this youth is not a bully but is himself afraid of the author and so the situation is different.
After the three weeks of receiving constant humiliation from the whites, the author finds it difficult to digest the complete contrast in the treatment that he receives. He enters an elegant white hotel and the white clerks register him, surround him with smiles, send him to his comfortable room, accompanied by a Negro who carries his bags and accepts his tip with a bow. This change in attitude momentarily fills him with happiness as he realizes that he will now be able to do things that he could not do as a Negro. Yet, this white transformation is also traumatic as he realizes that now, once again, there is a great distance between him and the Negroes.
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. 09 May 2017