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DECEMBER 2, 1959
The author decides to stay for two days at a monastery. He boards
a bus and soon realizes that the white driver has mastered one of the techniques
of degrading the Negro. But an elderly Negro woman is polite to him in spite of
his bad manners, which only enrages him.
At the monastery the author asks
a monk whether Negroes came there as guests to spend a few days and the whites
objected to it in any way. He shows the monk the booklet written by a white priest
in which most of the stereotypes and cliches about the Negro are discounted. Then
a young, white, Southern college instructor meets him and shares with him his
unique, liberated and anti racist views and tells him that his views are so different
from that of his family that he no longer has any contact with them.
The first part of today’s entry is about both racism
and humanism in society at one and the same time and place. There is the racism
of the white bus driver who refuses to be courteous to the Negro passengers who
have paid as much as any white for their tickets, even though they are well dressed
and respectable. Then in stark and sharp contrast, there is the humanism of one
elderly Negro woman who politely thanks him, which enrages the driver but amuses
the other Negroes. Humanism defeating racism softly and kindly. The iron fist
in a velvet glove.
The next part of the diary describes the author’s two
days at a monastery to which he goes for some rest and relaxation and to get away
from the racism that has become part of his daily existence. True to its kind,
the monastery is a place where, as the author himself describes it, -- the crusts
of one’s life fall away in the deep hush of eternity. This is an example of the
powerful imagery. The author converses with a monk there. The monk’s conversations
with the author reveal him to be a true follower of Christianity. He is completely
against people who interpret the religious belief to suit their own ideas.
Then there is the description of a humane white, who the author meets in the monastery.
A young Southern white college instructor whose liberated views of the Negro are
in such contradiction to those of his parents and uncles, that he no longer went
home to visit them. Truly he is an example of white heroism personified!
DECEMBER 4, 1959
into a white luxury hotel in Atlanta, as a white, but is treated with utmost suspicion
and discourtesy. Meanwhile he decides to do a story on Atlanta’s Negro business
and civic leaders. A young, white photographer assists him in doing this story.
The author’s white racial purity is doubted
by extremely color conscious whites. This occurs when as a ‘not so fair’ white
he checks into a white luxury hotel. He is treated not just inhospitably, but
with utmost suspicion and discourtesy and is even asked to pay in advance for
a phone call.
In contrast the next part of the diary describes the white photographer
who joins the author to do a story on Atlanta’s Negro business and civic
leaders. The author begins to like him almost immediately after meeting
him. Griffin believes that he is a ‘gentleman in every way.’
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