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Free Study Guide-Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin-Free Booknotes
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NOVEMBER 6

Summary

The author has been taking the treatment for the past four days, which is making him feel very sick and uneasy. The doctor discusses his fears and also his own experiences with the Negroes. This is the day the author meets his first Negro friend, a shoeshine man.

Notes

In this entry in his diary, the author describes his painful experiences undergoing the treatment to color his skin black -- a treatment that causes nausea and uneasiness and is very dangerous. Yet, he is determined to go ahead against all odds and this is yet another deeper glimpse of the authorís courage and unwavering will.


The readers here also get an insight into the white dermatologistís thinking. He resembles many white liberals, who on the one hand overtly believe in the brotherhood of man, but deep down inside still harbor racial prejudices and biases against the Negro. This becomes clear in some of his statements. One of them is -- "the lighter the skin the more trustworthy the Negro." Another statement that he makes is that, Negroís inherently love violence. And like the others of his kind, he also has ample evidence and personal experiences to support these racial biases and prejudices.

The author here meets the man, who is going to be his contact in the world comprising the blacks. It is Sterling Williams, an elderly, big and lame, shoeshine man with many sterling qualities. He is intelligent, polite and friendly and so the author confides to him his true identity as a writer touring the South to study the living and working conditions and civil rights of the Negroes. But he does not yet reveal that he intends to do this as a Negro. Williams is full of dignity and self-respect, and just does not only shine other peopleís shoes but is a lustrous person himself.

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