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Free Study Guide-Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin-Free Booknotes
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AUGUST 17

Summary

The white racists do not come for him as they had threatened. So today, together with a Negro youth, the author clears up his parentsí home. The young Negro freely discusses with him his thoughts and feelings, because the author has been a Negro for six weeks. The young Negro asks Griffin whether his children hate the Blacks and Griffin says no. He says that children do not learn to hate from birth. They learn these things as they are growing up. Griffin tells the boy that he and his wife will never let their children develop this kind of hatred. The author hopes that this situation between the two races is solved soon before it is too late.


Notes

Today in the final part of the book there is a very moving and perceptive discussion between the author and a Negro youth. Since he is now partly Negro or perhaps essentially Negro, the youth freely discusses with him the actions and reactions of the whites towards the Negroes. Through the discussion the author realizes that the Negro also does not understand the white any more than the white understands the Negro. And the most distressing repercussion of this lack of communication and hate and hostility has been the rise in racism among Negroes, who by hitting out at a manís whiteness, commit the same tragic error the white racist has committed against Negroes. Now many militant leaders are even preaching Negro superiority, to counteract white superiority.

Finally, the book ends tragically but also with hope, as the author wishes at the end that the Negro will be different, that he will rise to greatness, that he will build from the strength gained through his past suffering and will rise beyond vengeance. For only such maturity and sensitivity on the part of the Negroes can save the whole of American society and prevent a Holocaust that will destroy both black and white, innocent and guilty.

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