Black Like Me

by

John Howard Griffin

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Black Like Me: November 25, 1959 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Griffin is pleased to see a prevailing attitude of courage and “resistance” amongst African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama. Because of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “influence,” the black population has committed itself to “nonviolent and prayerful resistance to discrimination.” This, Griffin notes, “bewilder[s]” racists, since black violence often gives bigots an excuse to go on “repress[ing]” African Americans.
The racists in Montgomery are at a loss when black people practice “nonviolent” “resistance” because they are so used to taking African American anger and using it against the entire population. In other words, these racists try to perpetuate bigoted stereotypes by provoking black people into doing things that they (the racists) can then use against them. By refusing to respond to hatred with violence, then, Montgomery’s black community manages to deprive racists of one of their most harmful tactics.
Themes
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
Implicit Bias and Systemic Racism Theme Icon
Fear and Violence Theme Icon