To Kill A Mockingbird Essays: Racism Analysis

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Racism is something that has troubled society since the moment the concept of race was born. It is the elephant in the room - it is there, it exists, but it is largely unaddressed. Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, takes place during an era of rampant discrimination and racism. Throughout the book, racism manifests itself in many ways in the town of Maycomb. Some acts are blatant and obvious, but others are more furtive. In the novel, Tom Robinson, a black man, is accused of rape by a white girl. However, the whole town knows that Tom Robinson is innocent but the jury still convicts Tom Robinson as guilty and sentences him to death. Racism manifests and has manifested itself in To Kill a Mockingbird, my life, and in the twenty-first…show more content…
Bob Ewell’s word, a man despised by all the citizens of Maycomb, is still more trustworthy than Tom Robinson’s, a man who has done nothing wrong other than being born black, in the eyes of Maycomb. Atticus acknowledges this fact when explaining to Jem why the jury convicted Tom Robinson: There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads—they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” (Lee 252) This is a testament to the way racism and prejudice can plague society. Even though the jury knew that Tom Robinson was innocent and that Bob Ewell was lying, they still had to convict Tom Robinson just because he was black. Jem, not being racially prejudiced, could not understand this mentality. In addition the prejudice that the citizens of Maycomb felt towards the black community manifests itself through the way they treat the Finch family, even though they are white and Atticus is a respected member of the town. Even though Atticus was just following his obligation to defend Tom Robinson, the town still turned against and shunned them, even by members of their own family. An example of this occurs when Scout and Jem walk past Mrs. Dubose’s house and Mrs. Dubose insults their father: “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!” (Lee 105). Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird also manifests itself in the hatred towards Caucasians felt by the members of Calpurnia’s church. When Calpurnia brings Scout and Jem to her church they are treated with contempt by Lula, a member of the congregation: “You ain’t got no business bringin‘ white chillun here —they got their church, we got our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, Miss Cal?” (Lee 120). In To Kill a Mockingbird, racism manifests itself through the unfair trial of Tom
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