Classic of the Day: Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

I've never been a big fan of books that teach lessons and impart moral messages. It's not that I don't think you can learn from books; it just seems to me that teen books in particular are rather upfront about it, and it seems like they cram lessons down your throat. I've never understood why reading can't happen just for fun. Having said that, there are some that really work. Black Like Me is one of those, and I think the premise is a great hook to hang the lessons on.

In 1959, John Howard Griffin dyed his skin in an experiment. He decided to see what life would be like as a black man in the racially divide South of the United States. Without changing his name or the details of his life, he travelled around, even meeting people he knew who did not recognize him. He was entirely unsurprised to find that he was treated differently, poorly.

This is a work of non-fiction, and has many lessons of tolerance and acceptance to teach, and despite what I said above, I liked it. The author was audacious; I'm not sure anyone could get away with what he did today. Given what the author had to deal with both during and after his experiment, it could be argued that he didn't even get away with it.

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