Racism in To Kill A Mockingbird

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Racism presents itself in many ways in the town of Maycomb. Some are blatant and open, but others are more insidious. One obvious way that racism presents itself is in the result of Tom Robinson’s trial. Another apparent example is the bullying Jem and Scout had to endure as a result of Atticus’s appointment as Tom Robinson’s defense attorney. A less easily discernible case is the persecution of Mr. Dolphus Raymond, who chose to live his life in close relation with the colored community. Tom Robinson’s trial, and in fact his entire life, was badly affected by racism. It is truly a testament to the corruption of society when a person who has earned a bad reputation is held in higher esteem than a person who was born with it, as is the case with Bob Ewell and Tom Robinson. Even though Tom was obviously honest in his testament, the jury sided with Bob Ewell because he was white. They made this decision despite the fact that the Ewell family was widely known to be a worthless part of society. Jem, not being racially prejudiced, could not understand this mentality. As Atticus pointed out, “If you (Jem) had been on the jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man.” The hatred that the citizens of Maycomb felt towards the black community extended to anyone who became involved with them, especially the Finch family because Atticus was appointed to defend Tom Robinson. Scout and Jem suffered the most from this hatred because their peers were children, who are nearly always less candid than adults. Most of the people who were unhappy with Atticus would just try to keep away from him, which was bad enough. The children however, verbally abused Scout and Jem. Scout responded to this with physical violence, even though it was discouraged by her father. The sad thing is that they were mistreated even by members of their family, like Scout’s cousin Francis. Mr. Dolphus Raymond is another character who suffered from Maycomb’s racism. He was a respected, wealthy member of the community, but then he chose to live with the black community. This was considered a felony by the inhabitants of Maycomb. He knew they would never be able to understand his choice, so he made it easier for them by pretending to be the town drunk.
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