Black Like Me

by John Howard Griffin

Start Free Trial

Student Question

Did the protagonist in "Black Like Me" experience actual hardships of a black man, and what did he learn about humanity? What is the overall meaning of the book?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

John Howard Griffin did indeed experience the hardships of being black in Black Like Me. For one, he experienced how difficult it was to find what most of us take for granted:  a bathroom.  He also learned about peer pressure.  Even though he was not required by law to give up a bus seat at the time the story takes place, he does start to give up his seat to a white woman as a common courtesy.  When he does this, he meets with disapproval from his black "peers".

He also came to realize how improper treatment can lead to  what society deems improper behavior.  Black Like Me is a true story and Griffin was not recognizable as white during his "experiment"- so at times, it was impossible for him to experience anything except that of what a black person would experience at the time.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial