Study Guide

Black Like Me Chapter 9

By John Howard Griffin

Chapter 9

November 9-10, 1959

  • So, Griffin doesn't want to be a shoe shiner anymore, but tough—no one wants to hire him. We'll give you three guesses why.
  • He notices that black people are crazy nice to him, going out of their way just to help him and refusing payment.
  • One day he goes to the YMCA Café and those guys are talking up a storm, as usual. This time it's about why many black people don't become educated.
  • Basically because the attitude is, "Well if I can't get a job anyway, what's the point?" They need equal job opportunities, but how to convince white people to give it to them?
  • After that conversation, Griffin goes over to the French Quarter to depress himself by looking at all the restaurants that he used to eat at as a white man, ones that he can't even stare at for too long as a black man.
  • Then he experiences racism without even knowing it, when a white man tells him not to sit in Jackson Square—not because black people are not allowed in there, but because he just doesn't want him there.
  • After realizing that it's not really safe to sit down anywhere, Griffin starts riding the bus around town just so that he can sit.