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Racism In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

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Racism can be defined as “a particular form of prejudice defined by preconceived erroneous beliefs about race and members of racial groups” (Shouhayib). One race will develop an intolerance and misconceptions about other races and ethnicity, making their own opinions and stereotypes based on the differences in culture, appearance, knowledge, religion, ways of living and viewing the world, etc. Racism has been around for most of mankind’s history and it is still a major issue in today’s society. There are plenty examples of the effects of racism throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which shows racism through the eyes of children. In literature as in life, the effects of racism, such as hatred, violence and low self-esteem/mental…show more content…
Most of the white community of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s, where the novel takes place, are racist. Some reasoning for that is the intolerant opinions of their white ancestors were passed on through slurs and acts of violence towards colored people, “If you grow up in an environment where people think white people are superior to people of color, you begin to believe it,”(Gregoire). Atticus Finch is the only person brave enough during this time to go against the racism of the town by defending a black man, Tom Robinson, in court and supporting equality of all races. He says this about Mayella Ewell, the alleged victim that claims Robinson raped her, “She has merely broken a rigid and time honored code of our society….She was white, and she tempted a negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man,” (Lee 231). This shows the Maycomb community views colored people as lesser than white people, and that there is a sort of mob mentality of the society, many white people were only racist because their family and friends in Maycomb were racist. The effects of racism are clear in that event because the jury after this, believed Robinson is guilty, just because they trust a white person's word over a colored person’s word. Throughout the novel, Atticus and his children get are judged because he defends a black man in court. Lee writes a scene where Atticus tries to explain the difficult topic of the racist prejudices in the town to Scout and Jem on page 124, “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything- like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain- ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody”. This quote reveals that racism negatively impacts everyone’s lives in Maycomb and is a
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