A must-read book for white people: Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

“What was it like, really like, to be a black in the Deep South? Novelist John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and set out to discover by personal experience the night side of American life. This is his startling report.”          -Book cover quote

Black Like Me illustrates racism in 1959 in the deep south from a white/white privilege perspective. It shows all white people what it’s like to be black in America. It shows us what things white people take for granted. It shows us just how cruel white people are.

Imagine having to walk miles to get to the nearest restroom that you are permitted to use based on your skin color. Just using the restroom to relieve yourself, a privilege.

About the higher rates of suicidal tendencies of black people, Griffin says, “This did not mean that they killed themselves, but rather that they had reached a stage where they simply no longer cared if they lived or died.”
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If you don’t stand against oppression, you stand for it.

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you see prejudice or discrimination happening and you make a decision to benefit from it anyway, you become the problem. If you assist the problem, you condone the injustice.

That’s how oppression happens in deep cycles. People cannot just feel neutral about an issue. They must stand firmly against it and be anti-prejudiced.

White privilege feeds on neutrality. White people shrug their shoulders, say “I’m not racist,” and continue benefiting from their privilege. So the cycle continues. The same applies to male privilege or any form of oppression and discrimination.

When you participate in your privilege, you become the problem.

Just an issue that’s been bothering me.

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Why Black people shouldn’t have faith in white people.

I’m starting to understand why Black people have given up hope on white people in the racism debate.

(Photo courtesy of ToonPool.com)

It’s because when white people hear that voter literacy tests were used to keep Black people from voting, they’re upset because it’s obviously prejudiced (though they say “racist”) to ignore that, to an extent, white immigrants were also excluded from voting because of it.

It’s because when white people hear about those little Black struggles in (oh-so-ancient) history like slavery, mass lynchings, and Jim Crow laws, white people ask what the current Black generation’s excuse is.

It’s because…

So why do rich, privileged white men (the world’s minority) make the decisions?

I came across this handout from one summer’s Resident Assistant training at Towson University.

When they know nothing about the situations and struggles that the majorities (of the world) face, why do white, privileged men make the decisions for the rest of the world? No wonder there are so many conflicts.

 

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