In 1959 John Howard Griffin (left in photo below) darkened his skin in order to pass as black, and then traveled through the deep South. Smithsonian Magazine looks at the book he wrote about his experience.
"Fifty years ago this month, Griffin published a slim volume about his travels as a “black man...Black Like Me, which told white Americans what they had long refused to believe, sold ten million copies and became a modern classic."
“If a white man became a Negro in the Deep South,” he wrote on the first page of Black Like Me, “what adjustments would he have to make?” Haunted by the idea, Griffin decided to cross the divide. “The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us,” he would write, “was to become a Negro.”
I read this book in 1968 while living in Hampton, Virginia and attending a segregated school. As a child of fairly progressive parents in a military family, living in integrated military housing, I'd glimpsed some of the contrasts, but this book opened my eyes to how diffficult whites could make life for blacks.
"from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 percent of [the] total increase in Americans' income went to the top 1 percent"1
"income distribution in the United States is more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador"1
"the path of income inequality over the twentieth century is marked by two main events: a sharp fall in inequality around the outbreak of World War II and an extended rise in inequality that began in the mid-1970s and accelerated in the 1980s [emphasis added]"2
"Income inequality today is about as large as it was in the 1920s"2
Hunterian Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons of England in London has this fascinating medical specimen on display that shows what a child’s skull looks like when its adult teeth are waiting in the wings.
Yeah, we all knew it was too good to be true. When I first encountered the story I sent it to a friend with the subject line: "I want to believe!"
Vince Mancini, the author of the story at FilmDrunk, one of the first outlets to pick up the tale from Sunday Sports, said that: "I noted at the time that the report seemed a little suspicious...[it was from] a tabloid with headlines like 'World War 2 Bomber Found on Moon'"
Mr. Mancini argues, though, that the professional writers at Sunday Sports deserves big props for the story. He notes that they:
"found a dwarf who looked like Gordon Ramsay, and decided that wasn’t juicy enough, so they cooked up a story about him being a porn star."
Created a terrific quote: "Dwarf lookalikes are as rare as hen’s teeth and so can command top dollar. I’ve already ordered a new BMW and a diamond encrusted Soda Stream"
"waited three weeks to kill off their star, and when they did, they did it in style, with badgers and poison gas, with all the intrigue of a possible suicide, brought on by the pressures of the celebrity-look-alike dwarf-porn industry."
He finished with this compliment: "Because anyone can write some crazy story, it takes a professional to weave it into a narrative."
You stay classy, Sunday Sports. Not every newspaper can aspire to reach the heights to which you have soared.
The thoughts of Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf Should I be worried that the top Google result (update: in October of 1994) for Relentlessly Optimistic is to the former Iraqi Information Minister?
That's somewhat offset by the fact that the #3 link is to Sponge Bob Square Pants.