Racism: The Reaction of a Southern Population

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Think back to a time when you have felt utterly powerless. That was the same feeling that many African Americans felt in the first half of the twentieth century. The time period was filled with hate and ignorance towards minorities, especially in the American South. This is the setting of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Characters like Tom Robinson are subjected to the community’s hate and arrogance and end up in situations with little or no control of their fate. The central theme, racism, in To Kill a Mockingbird shows that African Americans were not accepted as equals in Maycomb County, the geographical location the story occurs, children like Jem and Scout Finch who were left perplexed by inequality and prejudice, and the citizens of the county who accepted racism and did nothing to better the situation for African Americans. Tom Robinson had no control over his life when he was being accused of raping a white girl due to African Americans being at the bottom of the social hierarchy in Maycomb County. “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life,” (Lee 295.) African Americans will be doomed in certain situations due to a lack of community background, and they will always find themselves losing games, court cases, or whatever they are competing against a white man in. African Americans lacked the rights of white Americans which created unequal chances and opportunities for success. “Until my father explained it to me later, I did not understand the subtlety of Tom’s predicament: he would not have dared strike a white woman under any circumstances and expect to live long, so he took his first opportunity to run--a sure sign of guilt,” (Lee 260-261.) In her coming to age, Scout real... ... middle of paper ... ...g goes crazy at this statement and accept the Ewell’s racism.The whole town takes the side of the Ewell family in the court case. The town favors the caucasian man over the African American man, even though there is more evidence against Mr. Ewell than that posed against Tom Robinson. No one wants to step up against racism because then they will be despised by the town. The adult population of Maycomb county did nothing to lead to the betterment of the treatment of African Americans while their children were left perplexed about inequality and often shared their parents views. The African Americans were shown hate while lacking equal rights to other citizens, sometimes leaving them at the mercy of others with no control on their life. People should appreciate the freedom in America today as the bonds of social equality have been eradicated in most of modern society.

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