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Journal Entry 2: Black Like Me

The second half of Black Like Me contains the end of Griffin's journey as a black man. Then it includes an epilogue where he tells all that happened in the Black Movement in upcoming years. This epilogue was filled with many facts and I learned a lot. It tells of all the people that were helping people like Martin Luther King in the movement. I never realized how much effort was involved in the desires to reach equality, since in classes I have merely learned about a few instances involving these issues.

"Fear dims the sunlight" (p. 101). Griffin uses this quote to describe the world of the blacks. There were always great contrasts when he described what he saw as a white and then what he saw as a black. He used this quote to explain this. He says that when he visited the same cities in his two different bodies, he saw everything differently based on the perspective that that person viewed it with. I found this to be very interesting. I like that quote that he used to describe it because I can apply it to my life. It encourages me not to be fearful because then I will not be able to see the good points in life. However, the blacks were not given this choice. They had to act as though they were fearful of whites. Additionally, whites were fearful that the blacks would threaten their power. This shows that everyone was living in fear.. causing no one to see the sunlight.

The epilogue included a common saying that I was surprised to learn was used. The saying was "take ten." Black men would call it out to their friends on the street. White men thought it meant it was time for them to take a ten minute coffee break. However, it's meaning was much different. The proportion of whites to blacks was ten to one. So this was saying that every black man killed by a white man should be compensated by killing ten white men. This saying led to some violent instances, however most of these instances were faulted by the whites. I had always been misled to believe that it was the blacks who encouraged the violence. The take ten saying was the only support that this epilogue gave of that, however.

This book was focused entirely on the unity of races. It relates to the other two books which I have read. However, it illustrates prejudices much more vividly by showing effects on a society, rather than just one or two people. For instance, in My Name Is Asher Lev, Asher's religious background put restrictions on his painting. His parents would not allow him to paint certain things. When he disobeyed, he was forced to leave his society because his religious did not accept what he did. Asher was the only one with such effects. In the Joy Luck Club, it was the Japanese Americans who were being the minority. They were discriminated against because they often had to take jobs inferior to that of a white person. However, this was not a focus of the novel because it compared this to modern times where everyone was treated as an equal. In comparison, in Black Like Me, the prejudices were of the American belief systems. Decisions effected everyone, not just one person. The setting took place entirely during the years of discrimination. A settlement was never reached because the book was completed before a positive change had began to occur. The book is a working model which was hoping to make a difference. It did. Millions of people who read Griffin's book were affected by the raw truth in it. I being one of those people. The people who first read it felt encouraged to take a stand when they learned the truth. The unity of these people for the common cause led to the equality movement to head in the right direction.

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