Black Like Me

by

John Howard Griffin

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Black Like Me: June 19 – August 14, 1960 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Griffin is reassured by the many warm wishes he receives in the mail, which he believes proves that southern white people are more understanding than they’re willing to show. Still, though, he decides to move his family (and his parents) to Mexico, since staying in Mansfield would be “too great an injustice to” his children. However, he decides to stay behind for several days. “I felt I must remain a while longer, until the bullies had a chance to carry out their threats against me,” he writes. “I could not allow them to say they had ‘chased’ me out. They had promised to fix me on July 15th, and now they said they would do it August 15th.”
Although it might seem crazy for Griffin to wait until an angry mob of racists descends upon him, it’s actually quite important that he demonstrate to his community that he will not back down. If he were to succumb to fear, he would only help bigots discourage other nonracist whites from taking a stand against discrimination. This is why he decides that he can’t “allow them to say they had ‘chased’” him out of town, ultimately suggesting that the most productive way to respond to hatred is by embodying resilience.
Themes
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
Fear and Violence Theme Icon