Human Virtue in Black Like Me by John Griffin and Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne W. Houston

Last Updated: 24 Feb 2023
Pages: 4 Views: 57

Through all the trials that people have been put through, throughout the years, somehow people seem to forgive and forget. How can anyone be so willing to let things go when they have done nothing wrong to deserve it. The lives of two people who so willingly forgave those who had done them wrong showed many virtues of perseverance, tolerance, and respect. Jeanne W. Houston in her book, Farewell to Manzanar and John Griffin in his book, Black Like Me, both demonstrate qualities that would, if revealed among all people benefit the world and all of mankind.

Through thick and thin both Jeanne and John persevere. No matter how hard life became Jeanne never allowed it to get to her. After her release from Manzanar she always tried to befriend others. Even when she was rejected, like the time when she wanted to be a part of the Girl Scout Troop. She just passively accepted it and moved on. Jeanne didn't hold a grudge against others even though she had every right to. She saw through it all and knew that in the end she would come out on top for being the better person, but she just had to strive to reach that point. As with John Griffin, whenever he felt like giving up he still stuck with it. When he would hitchhike to different places, most people just wanted to get into dirty conversations with him. They exploited him, as if he were some sort of sex feign. But just as he was about to give up on society a man without racial prejudice would come along and lift his hopes. John stuck with it no matter how hard it got, and how often he was denied service for his color. He knew that if he just smiled and walked away that everything would end up alright. Jeanne and John pushed on through knowing that there will be better times.

Though intolerable themselves, John and Jeanne tolerated how others acted and treated them. Though John was truly white at heart, because he looked black, he was treated like one. When the store clerk of whom he conversed with daily while he was white, wouldn't even look at him when he was black. She saw him as nothing more than dirt and treated him as if he were dirt. Also the cashier in the bus station wouldn't cash his $10 bill, because he was colored and she didn't trust a black with a lot of money. He was put into a category, a stereotype in which he wasn't tolerated. But he politely asked again and smiled and left if he was denied service again. He tolerated their intolerance and rose above them. Jeanne was one hundred percent American, but because she looked Japanese, she was placed in a group to be hated. She did everything an average American girl would do, but because her eyes were slightly slanted, and her skin was an olive color, she suddenly was denied the right to live with her family wherever they pleased. She was stripped of her human rights and sent to a concentration camp. But after she was released back into society, she was still looked upon as a foreign outcast. But Jeanne didn't let it get to her. She did her best to see others as individuals. She treated others how she wanted to be treated, hoping that someone would in return see her not as a class of people, but as an individual.

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Respect is something that wasn't very apparent in the lives of those whom John and Jeanne were in contact with. Just because John was colored, he became untrustworthy, a second-class citizen, and someone that doesn't deserve a white person's time. John was denied service many times as a black man but respected the wishes of those who were to service him and politely left. He knew to leave well enough alone and not to challenge the demands of others. Though he wasn't given any respect he respected them in return. He felt that only through humanitarian love, could he win others to love also. Jeanne always respected those in authority over her, even when she felt that their decisions weren't right. Like when she was going to be the carnival queen and the teachers tried to fix the ballots so that she wouldn't win. She didn't agree with what they were doing, but she respected what they did and wouldn't hold it against them. Partly because of her Japanese culture she learned to accept what her elders did and respected their wishes. Showing respect for others doesn't always mean you'll get respect back in return. But you can only hope for the best.

Treat others how you want to be treated and hope that they are kind enough to give you the respect that you deserve. Just because a person looks different on the outside, doesn't mean that they aren't human. Each person is an individual being and deserves to be treated like one. A person who is unwilling to accept that philosophy should still be treated the same way you would want to be treated. Because the only way that they would come out being the winner is if you stooped to their level and stopped loving them. Look past the outer layer and look to the heart, that is where the true individual being lies. A kind loving person is still the same person no matter what he looks like on the outside, he is one who truly demonstrates all aspects of perseverance, tolerance, and respect in all circumstances.

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Human Virtue in Black Like Me by John Griffin and Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne W. Houston. (2023, Feb 24). Retrieved from

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