Black Like Me


John Howard Griffin

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Black Like Me: November 21, 1959 Summary & Analysis

For three days, Griffin stays in Mobile and looks for work. Discouraged, he eventually asks the foreman of a plant whether or not he would hire him if he were more talented than a white worker. “I’ll tell you,” the foreman says, “we don’t want you people. Don’t you understand that?” He then goes on to say that the white community wants to force blacks out of Alabama by refusing them jobs and thus making it impossible for them to live in the state.
When this foreman admits that he wants to disempower black people by refusing them jobs, readers see that institutionalized racism has very real effects on African Americans, since the inability to find a job inevitably forces people to uproot their lives to find work elsewhere. In addition to acting out his bigotry in an everyday way, then, this foreman takes a broader approach by disenfranchising black people through various economic injustices. 
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