Black Like Me

Black Like Me

Book - 1996
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The 5,000,000 copy bestseller of life in the black ghettos of America - written by a white man! This shocking book is a first hand account of the story of a man who underwent a series of medical treatments to change his skin colour temporarily to black. His purpose was to try and find out what it was like to be a black man in America.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Group, [1996]
Edition: 35th anniversary edition
ISBN: 9780451192035
Characteristics: 192 pages ; 18 cm.


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Jan 21, 2021

White dude puts on black face to expose racism in the South. Don't think you could get away with that today bruh.

Jun 13, 2020

I read Black Like Me as a young teenager in the early 60's and a few years later Paul Erlich's Population Bomb. Those two books affected me more than any of the thousands (English major) that I've read since. Cannot recommend highly enough.

May 18, 2020

I read this in high school in the 1970s and have never forgotten it. I’m going to read it again!

Mar 07, 2018

There are TWO versions of this book. They are literally night and day. This cover with the half face black silhouette to me is BY FAR the BETTER read being a black woman. The one that is from the Griffin estate is offensive and just nasty.

Aug 12, 2017

Sadly, this book is still relevant. And this is the observation of a white reader speaking from a very limited experience. And I will add that this book was also educational- to me. Of course I know how people I socialize with, go to church with, etc., but I am not so naïve as to think there are no differences between my black friends and my white friends. Even though I see my friends men and women, is it an insult to say I do not see black men, black women? I wish I knew the correct answer.

I can only imagine how this book was accepted when it was first published. Should it be required reading in schools today? I really think that it should. But we, as a people - white, black, brown, red, whatever, are definitely NOT where we need to be. Will we ever get there? I hope so, I really do.

JCLBeckyC Jul 11, 2016

I read this book as a teen thirty years ago, and I still often think about it. In the 1950's, a white southern man takes medication to darken his skin and goes undercover as a black man in the Deep South. This book is his chronicle of that journey. Highly recommended adults and teens.

Aug 09, 2014

Black like me is an extremely insightful book. In this novel, John Howard Griffin writes so honestly about issues we still face today. I can’t say enough good things about this book; it was truly an eye opener. I knew racism was a huge issue, especially in the south (where this book takes place) but I had no idea people could be so cruel and extreme. It was disgusting to come to terms with the fact that there were some people, and still are who believed they were superior to others, solely because of their race. In this novel, John Howard Griffin temporarily pigments his skin to dark brown in order to experience the levels of inequality among different races in the south. However, we have to keep in mind that Griffin only pigmented his skin for about 6 weeks, so he could not fully comprehend the experience, as he constantly shifted back and forth between being "black" and "white." His experience nevertheless, was thought provoking. There are so many things you can take away from this book, it was so honest and you could see the sharp contrast there was from his two perspectives from something as simple as walking down the street or getting a cup of coffee. I cringed at some of Griffin’s encounters, they deeply saddened me, it was unbelievable how disrespectful people could be, and how they believed in a “superior race”. What I think was most disturbing was the fact that this still continues, not as much as before but racism is still all to easily accepted. We live in a world where prejudice is still so rife in society, where questions like equal pay among people of opposite sexes are still at the forefront of discussions, now is the time for us to stop the inequality and continue Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom, and not just envision but live Martin Luther King Jr’s dream. “All people smile in the same language.”

LYCrazy8 Nov 08, 2011

this is an incredibly important book to portray just how intolerant our society was a mere 50 years ago. my only issue with the book is that i don't think the author is in any position to write from the perspective of a "black man." his transformation took place over a relatively brief 6-week period, and he constantly shifted between his "black" and "white" selves. it's a shame that a similarly-themed book written by a black man never captured the public's attention as strongly as "black like me."

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Jun 23, 2020

ku048300 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 21, 2017

carvalhoju thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Jul 02, 2009

A middle-aged women with stringy gray hair stood near my seat. She wore a clean but faded print house dress that was hoisted to one side as she clung to an overhead pendant for support. Her face looked tired and I felt uncomfortable. As she staggered with the bus's movement my lack of gallantry tormented me. I half rose from my seat to give it to her, but Negroes behind me frowned disaproval. I realized I was "going against the race" and the subtle tug-of-war became instantly clear. If the whites would not sit with us, let them stand. When they became tired enough or uncomfortable enough, they would eventually take seats beside us and soon see that it was not so poisonous after all. But to give them your seat was to let them win. I slumped back under the intensity of their stares. But my movement had attracted the white woman's attention.


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