The kind of discrimination many Maycomb citizens engage in is blind, and inconsiderate of others’ feelings. Just like what Dolphus Raymond says, “Cry about the simple hell people gives other people — without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give coloured folks, without even stopping to think that they’re people, too (Lee 201),” Maycomb citizens discriminate without stopping to think that African Americans are people too, and they discriminate without looking inside themselves first to find the real reason that is triggering the discriminatory feelings. It is ignorance.
Discrimination in Maycomb is so widespread; it exists amongst white people too. This can be seen when Aunt Alexandria tells Scout why she couldn’t play with Walter Cunningham: “‘I’ll tell you why,’ she said. ‘because — he — is — trash, that’s why you can’t play with him (Lee 225).'” Racism in Maycomb isn’t just the standard racial discrimination so common in the 30s, but also classism. The Cunninghams are really poor and do not bathe often. Walter is not very educated because he has to help out his father’s business. This causes people like Aunt Alexandria to look down on them.
Lastly, the biggest issue with Maycomb’s discrimination is that the citizens themselves do not see nor understand their discrimination. When a student asks Miss Gates why Germans dislike the Jews, she answers, “I don’t know, Henry. They contribute to every society they live in, and most of all, they are a deeply religious people (Lee 245).” The very same traits for the Jews could be applied to African Americans. If the citizens of Maycomb cannot understand where the prejudice against Jews is coming from, how can they understand where their own prejudice is coming from? Their hatred towards African Americans is based on something insubstantial and weak.
To Kill a Mockingbird Racial Prejudice EssayGet Your
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The prize winning ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee is a memorable novel. The story is based in Maycomb, Alabama in the southern United States during the great depression when money was short and racism was very common. The most powerful theme in this novel is racial prejudice. There are many references to this in the novel and is best shown in Bob Ewell’s character during and after the trial of Tom Robinson. It is also shown in the character of Lula when Calpurnia brings Scout and Jem to the First Purchase church, and also when Jem, Scout and Dill talk about the biracial children in Maycomb.
The most racist person in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ would be Bob Ewell. He shows how racist he can be during the trial of Tom Robinson. During his testimony against Tom Robinson he says, “I’ve asked the county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder, they’re dangerous to live around sides devaluing my property”(175). Bob Ewell shows what he feels towards negroes like Tom Robinson, in that he considers them trash, dirty, useless and should be cleared out of Maycomb.
Bob Ewell also accuses the negroes of being dangerous to the Maycomb folks as they would steal their property. After the trial and Tom Robinson’s death, Bob Ewell holds grudges on Atticus, Judge Taylor and, for no reason, Tom’s wife Helen. He attempts Christian Doma to rob Judge Taylor and fails, he threatens to ‘chunk’ Helen. What he attempts to do to Atticus just for defending Tom Robinson is kill his kids, Scout and Jem, but in the end the life that is taken is of his own. Bob Ewell’s hate for blacks lead to his own death, that’s how far he was willing to go.
Bob Ewell may be the worst when it comes to racism on the white side, but there is another side of that scale and it is best shown in Lula. The church that Calpurnia and Lula attend is called the First Purchase Church, only black people are allowed to attend the church. When Calpurnia brought Jem and Scout to the First Purchase church, Lula stopped them after they walked in and told Calpurnia, “You ain’t got no business bringin’ white children he’re – they got their church and we ours'”(119). Lula’s eaction to the white children can be viewed as her acceptance of the town’s view that black people should be segregated. Dill, Scout, and Jem are not racist but they do talk about the biracial children in town. Jem talks about the biracial children when he says that “colored folks won’t have’em because they’re half white: white folks won’t have them because they’re half black”(183). This shows the social racism in the town of Maycomb. Everyone has heard the quote, “All men are created equal. That has not stopped the discrimination against any group of people right up to this very moment. The group of people that is treated most unequally is made up of biracial children and teens. There are many themes in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, racial prejudice being the most outstanding. It is shown clearly in Bob Ewell at the time of Tom Robinson’s trial, Lula at the First Purchase church, and during the scene when Scout, Jem, and Dill are talking about the biracial children in Maycomb.
Author: Gene Jeremiah
To Kill a Mockingbird Racial Prejudice Essay
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