|Nomadic SA Chick||
Page Count: 208
Nonfiction Genre: History, Memoir, Biography, Race, Sociology
Dates Read: August 2-5, 2015
John Howard Griffin was a unique man in Texas during the 1950s. he believed and fought for race equality. Howard went to far to show the mistreatment of black citizens that with the help of doctors, he purposefully dyed his skin dark, gave up his life as a prosperous white man, and risked loosing his wife and daughters. Black Like Me is the journey of Howard as he took on the life of an impoverished black man in the American south.
Let me start this review by unpacking my knapsack of white privilege. While I applaud and understand what Howard did and why he did this, in the grand scheme of things I have to ask myself what all did he accomplish by doing this, besides personal understanding. I understand wanting to literally walk a mile in someone else's shoes, but I feel like all that happened by him doing this was that he wrote for a black magazine and published his memoir. What changes did he help to bring to black society or to education the unenlightened white people? His activist behavior in this manner was about as effective as the new Sun Chip bags that are more eco-friendly. They don't really do anything to fix the bigger picture, but just hang around to remind you that someone with a big paycheck was sitting in an office and thought of something out of the box.
All that being said, I did find Griffin's memoir to be insightful and heart wrenching to hear how bad things were for people back then. There is a lot of respect for what Griffin did, and the chances he was willing to take to put himself in a place that just by birth he never had to fear being. All that being said, I keep coming back to my original statement wondering what exactly did he accomplish in the long run by doing this?
Ratings (based on a 10 point scale)
Quality of Writing - 7
Pace - 5
Plot Development - 5
Characters - 5
Enjoyability - 5
Insightfulness - 6
Ease of Reading - 5
Photos/Illustrations - N/A
Overall Rating - 4 out of 5 stars