Racial Relations and what we can learn from them Throughout decades past, American philosophers and psychologists have striver to discover the “reason” for racism. John Howard Griffin, however, decided he would go straight into the heat of it. John Howard Griffin transformed himself into a man of color and went straight into the bible belt and racial hotbed of the United States; the Deep South. While there, he was able to absorb and learn much information about the black culture and how they were treated. But was he really a black man? Could he really experience the same feelings and emotions a black man does?
Deep down, the answer is no. From a cosmetic and political standpoint, and possibly an emotional one, the answer would be yes. John Howard Griffin experienced less than cordial treatment, and received in courteous and rude treatments, with the ever-present threat of death lingering over his head. For what everyone else could see was a black man. Nobody knew a white man was under that dyed skin, and that’s what makes his journey so prolific and interesting to read. In Zion’s essay “Or Does it explode? ” we learn that “There were more black faces in the newspapers and on television, creating an impression of change. 465; Zion] As Howard Griffin pointed out in the novel we read, the whites thought they were doing something good, especially when one white believed that “we figure we’re doing you people a favor to get some white blood in your kids. ” [Black Like Me; 103] Whites were under the impression that making people believe they supported the idea of integration and equalization, the blacks would fall for such a fallacy and stop complaining. The goal of the blacks showing up on TV and Newspaper was, as I support, not a gesture of kindness, but rather an attempt to make the blacks believe he whites were trying to support equalization.
For example, it can much be related to putting a black man on your television show, saying, “Look, It’s a black man!! ” and claiming not to be a racist. The action attempts to assure one that they are not racist and support blacks, when in reality; it is either a publicity act or doing it Just “because it’s the right thing to do. ” More so, as Zion mentions, most of this was simply an act to “contain the frightening explosiveness of the black upsurge. ” [Zion; 465] Most of this illustrates to us that Howard could only learn as much as the blacks and he media could let him learn, in a political sense.
The novel, as far as I know, rarely mentions black politics, and we assume the John Howard Griffin is kept away from them or does not interact with them, for the Mass Media does not permit it, and does not advertise it towards blacks. Unfortunately, he could only learn what he was physically possible of learning. Post-racial America still has yet to come. I know a few people who still share the same ideology as those in the Deep South; not necessarily killing, but segregation of blacks and whites, even sending the blacks back to “Africa where they belong”.
Unfortunately, as a first hand experience, my father shares this ideology. He strictly believes that most blacks are abusing our current system of welfare and benefits, and are reaping the benefits of child services and the ability to use food stamps. He taking us in an economic negation. We are, for the most part, in a post racial situation, and most people have taken these attitudes of segregation and racism away, though some stick true to this formula (Those like my father. ) From the first hand experiences of his beliefs, I have learned the “other-sides” opinion.
Granted, my ether is a very conservative Republican (whereas my mother learns more towards the democratic/liberal side) his politics clearly affect his opinion, for he also feels the same about Mexicans, Homosexuals, and Obama himself. I have learned that their side, the darker and more cynical side of politics, believe that we are spending money on these people when they are not trying to achieve Jobs or attempt to make our country better; in essence – wasted money. This has opened a new, although brutish and dark, door into the world of post racial America’s racists and conservative whites.