Black Like Me and Crash

8 August 2016

In 1959 John Howard Griffin, the author of the book Black Like Me, disguised himself as an African American and decided to go live out in society to see what it would be like to be a black man. The book Black Like Me is his documentation of that experience. His story spread around the world and he got a lot of praise from people around the world, but he also got a good amount if hate from the white power groups who were quite prevalent at the time. Now, much time has passed and many people say the days of racism are over. That is a completely untrue statement.

The movie Crash depicts modern day racism and shows how prevalent it really is in today’s society. Both of these works can relate to one another in many ways and really show how racism truly is. The book Black Like Me and the film Crash have many connections that can be drawn to one another. For one, the main focus of the two works is racism, but they take place in very different times. Black Like Me takes place back when racism was very blatant and obvious. Crash shows how modern day racism is not a blatant, but still very prevalent in deeply held stereotypes and beliefs.

Black Like Me and Crash Essay Example

Although Black Like Me only focuses of African Americans and Crash is on all races they are still related. The stereotype that African Americans are more aggressive and violent is seen in both of the works. Another interesting thing that is seen in both of the works is that there is one character who disregards his race just to rise higher and become accepted socially. In Black Like Me this character is Christophe, who is a well dressed black man who seems to hate his own race and he stands up for the white people and wants to be one of them.

In Crash the character that represents this is the police chief. He hears about how one officer has racist tendencies but he disregards them because he says that it will look bad on his record if there are racist police officers under a “black man’s” command. There are many connections with these two works and what we talked about in class. The worksheet we discussed in class called Ethics, Empathy, and Prejudice: Anticipation Guide has a lot to do with these works. Many of the statements on there were very thought provoking. One of the statements was

“we can’t understand somebody unless we walk a mile in their shoes”. To me, this is a very true statement and in both of the works it shows that. In Black Like Me this is what the whole basis of the book is about. John Howard Griffin disguises himself as a African American to see what their life is really like. In the movie Crash every character has their own story but none of the other characters seem to understand one another, not even people of the same race. Another statement that was on this worksheet was “it is better to remain in ignorance than to learn something which may be more painful”.

This statement is completely false and both of these works will show that. Griffin decided he wanted to know what being a black man in the south was really like and he found out the truth of how bad racism really was. In the movie, there are many instances of this but the one that stood out to me was when the guy went to sell that truck when he discovered it was full of slaves. He was glad he found out because instead of selling them into slavery and making a lot of money, he let them go. Both of these works have many connections with the world at large because that what these works are based off of.

Black Like Me may be a little old but, that was what the world was like back in the 50’s and 60’s. It shows a time that none of us want to go back to. Crash shows modern day racism. Many people believe that there is no more racism but that is untrue. This movie depicts how racism is still very alive and prevalent even in today’s society. The racism today isn’t as blatant like the segregation we had back in the times of Black Like Me but, rather it is more stereotypes and deeply held beliefs about certain races.

Although stereotypes are bad, they do have some truth in them, and Crash shows that very well. One stereotype in the movie is when the Persian man tries to buy a gun but the store owner wouldn’t sell him one because he said he was a terrorist and he was going to shoot people with it. The Persian man did try to shoot somebody with it but failed. Another stereotype that was in the movie was that black people would rob you. This just seems completely ridiculous but two of the black characters in the movie did rob people and steal cars for a living.

Stereotypes are mostly untrue, but they all had to come from somewhere. These two works show how racism really is and used to be. We have came a long way from the times when Black Like Me was written, but still have a long way to go. Crash shows modern day racism and how very much alive it still is. These two works combined really expose how racism really is. One day we will hopefully get rid of racism as a whole but we need the cooperation of every human being in the world to do that. After all, we are all human and humans are made to love each other.

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