Black Like Me


John Howard Griffin

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Cristophe Character Analysis

A young black man Griffin meets on the bus from New Orleans to Mississippi. Cristophe is well-dressed and courteous in the presence of white people, but rude and confrontational when he interacts with black people. As such, he nearly gets into a physical fight with one of the passengers in the back of the bus, eventually moving to sit next to Griffin. Soon enough, Griffin finds out quite a lot about Cristophe, including that he thinks of dark-skinned black people as “punks” and takes pride in his own light skin. Before long, Cristophe admits that he misses the feeling of belonging to a church community, but when Griffin suggests that he return to God, Cristophe admits that he can’t because he plans to murder several people (he also reveals that he’s just gotten out of prison). After inviting Griffin to come help him murder the men he wants to kill, Cristophe gets off the bus, and all of the other black passengers are relieved he’s gone.
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Cristophe Character Timeline in Black Like Me

The timeline below shows where the character Cristophe appears in Black Like Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
November 14-15, 1959
Appearance, Identity, and Bigotry Theme Icon
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
...get into a disagreement with someone sitting behind him. The elegantly dressed man’s name is Cristophe, and he shouts at the other black man, threatening to fight him until the man’s... (full context)
Appearance, Identity, and Bigotry Theme Icon
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
Although Griffin tries to avoid interacting with Cristophe, he eventually has no choice but to acknowledge his new seat partner, since Cristophe starts... (full context)
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
“I hate us, Father,” Cristophe says. “I’m not a Father,” Griffin replies, but Cristophe insists that he knows a priest... (full context)
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
Implicit Bias and Systemic Racism Theme Icon
Fear and Violence Theme Icon
Griffin tells Cristophe that he can “always go back” to the church, but Cristophe merely says, “Nah. I’ve... (full context)