75g: Richard Pryor / Gil Scott-Heron
Looks At Books
Junior Griffin.....Richard Pryor
Jane Curtin: Good evening! Welcome to "Looks At Books". I'm your host, Jane Curtin. My guest tonight is the author of several books on race in America, and he's here to talk about his latest book, "White Like Me". Welcome, won't you, Junior Griffin. Junior, why don't you begin by describing the ordeal behind your book?
Junior Griffin: Well.. I decided that the only way to understand a white man's problems was to actually become a white man, get white skin, and live like a white man in a white's man world, you know?
Jane Curtin: And, uh, how did you accomplish this?
Junior Griffin: Uh.. shoe polish.
Jane Curtin: Here's a copy of the book, with a picture of Junior as a white man. [ holds up book photo ] Junior, what did it feel like to suddenly be white?
Junior Griffin: Well, you know, it was spooky! Um.. I was walkin' around with the credit cards bulgin' out of my wallet, you know? And I'd apply for jobs, get accepted 8 out of 10 times, you know? And things I never dreamt of was happenin' to me! It was really something else!
Jane Curtin: You know, I don't want to offend you, Junior.. but I don't think I would believe you were white - even with shoe polish. Did any other white folks catch on to your game?
Junior Griffin: Not a one. There's some dumb honkies out there! They didn't catch on a bit! 'Cause I got into it! You know? I became a white person! And got a white attitude, you know what I mean?
Jane Curtin: Could you, uh, demonstrate this for us?
Junior Griffin: Well, if you don't mind. But, you see, there's a certain white walk that you have to have. And a certain white talk! [ stands ] I mean, you just can't be like this, you know what I mean? You got to get down and say things like.. [ in a white voice ] "Excuse me? Would you move out of my way?" And you walk like this - check this walk! [ walks in a stilted white way ]
Jane Curtin: You got me! [ laughs ] Tell me, Junior, do you have any works in progress?
Junior Griffin: Well.. I'm working on a new book - it's from the perspective of White Jewish-American Princesses.
Jane Curtin: That's going to be very difficult.
Junior Griffin: Oh, it's gonna be tricky, all right. You know, I'm gonna have to have a sex-change operation, and I'm gonna marry a doctor..
Jane Curtin: Well, we'll talk more about that later..
Junior Griffin: ..have a couple kids, probably..
Jane Curtin: Thank you very much, Junior, for being on this show, and we'll be right back after this message.
Junior Griffin: ..I don't be jivin' with my boys!
[ fade out ]