The but calls a black man “Boy.” Racism

The main theme in Griffin’s book is the evil of racism. Griffin exposes how painful it is to be exposed to discrimination based on the color of one’s skin. He also shows the ugliness of racists, their personalities distorted by hatred. Readers sympathize with Griffin as he endures “hate stares,” threats, harassment, and humiliation throughout the book. He is unable to find a job and, in accordance with social segregation of the time, is unable to use restrooms or enter cafés on the basis of his skin color. Griffin shows that even well meaning whites reveal their racism through their patronizing words and deed for instance, a white man in the book speaks kindly, but calls a black man “Boy.” Racism even exists among blacks themselves, who value lighter skin over dark skin. This internalized racism on the part of African-Americans is even more sinister in some ways, as it makes blacks despise their own skin. A final evil that Griffin warns against is black racism against whites. If blacks begin to hate whites or to preach black superiority over whites, they will only worsen the problem of racial hatred. There are good hearted people on both sides, and it is only by open and loving communication, and not more hatred, that the evil of racism will eventually be overcome.


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