In the Fall of 1959, John Howard Griffin set
out on a journey of discovery. A discovery of his
own nature, as well as a discovery of human nature.
With the help of a friend, Griffin transformed his
white male body into that of an African-American
male body. Through a series of medical treatments,
the transformation was complete. He spent the next
several months as an African-American traveling
through the deep South of the United States. What
he discovered changed his perspective of himself,
as well as his perspective of others.
On his journey, John Howard Griffin encountered
what could be termed the dark side of human nature.
He experienced racism in its purest form. He
experienced what it was like to live in squalor
with a sense of hopelessness. John Howard Griffin
also experienced the antagonism of those that
feared him solely because of the color of his skin.
His experiences even included witnessing acts of
racism with the African-American community. (1)
As a “white man” in “White America”, John
Howard Griffin enjoyed certain luxuries. With
those luxuries, however, is an independence of
sorts. A majority of white people pass through
life without much notice of other white people.
What he found as an African-American was that he
developed a bond with other African-Americans. The
type of bond that is shared between people in the
same situation. (2)
With this discovery came a certain amount of
hope. A hope that the human spirit will prevail
through any hardship. Through his journey, he
would step back into his true white self, and enter
back into the white world. He would then observe
the “black” world with a new sense of clarity. (3)
While in the “white” wo...
... middle of paper ...
...r as though both thinkers share
similar ideas in regards to this form of human
nature. It would be interesting to determine
whether race makes a difference in the outcome.
That is to say, what would happen if the roles were
reversed? What would happen if the black person
were in a position of power and the white person
If these are truly examples of human nature,
one could theorize that the outcome would remain
the same. As John Howard Griffin discovered from
his experiences, the only difference between white
and black is the color of our skin.
(1) “Black Like Me” John Howard Griffin Pg. 55-59
(2) “Black Like Me” Pg. 116-117
(3) “Black Like Me” Pg. 118-121
(4)&(7) “The Battle For Human Nature” Barry Shwartz Pg. 41
(5) “Black Like Me” Pg. 85-96
(6) “Black Like Me” Pg. 156
(7)”Black Like Me” Pg. 133-139
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