Essay about Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Essay about Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

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Racism was a very large part of society in the south during the 1930’s. Many colored people were thought of as less than their peers. Whites were considered better than African Americans were, and almost every white person accepted the unjust judgment. Racial discrimination hit hard in the south. Many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird were impacted by racial discrimination, including Calpurnia, Scout, and Tom Robinson and his family.
One of the more “accepted” sorts of racism in the 1930’s was in the home. Many families had African American housekeepers, and the Finch’s were one of those families. When Aunt Alexandra moved in, she created some turbulence with Calpurnia. When Atticus was talking about how a man despised Negroes, Aunt Alexandra stated, “’Don’t talk like that in front of them’”(Lee 209). Unlike Aunt Alexandra, Calpurnia believes one should treat everyone with respect and put aside their racial, sexual, or financial differences, no matter what their social station (Telgen 292).
Calpurnia tries so hard to be approved by society the way the Finches have accepted her. She treats the Finches like her family. She shows off Jem and Scout because she’s proud of them, no matter what color their skin is. Calpurnia is not allowed at a white church, and when Atticus leaves, she decides to take the children to her church. “’I wants to know why you bringin’ white chillun to nigger church’” is what Lula, an African American woman at Calpurnia’s church, said when she saw Jem and Scout at First Purchase African M.E. Church (Lee 158). Calpurnia replied with, “It’s the same God, ain’t it?’”(Lee 158). Calpurnia tries hard to put aside racial differences and see a person for whom they really are, but she encoun...


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...”(Lee 322). The Robinson family was left alone with only the choice few who did what was right and stood up for them and helped them get along without Tom. Tom was affected so much by racism that he felt it overtook his life and decided to give in.
There are many cases of racism everywhere you look, and the affected characters dealt with it strongly throughout the book. They showed others what they’ve got, and tried not to become jaded by others. Racial discrimination affected Calpurnia, Scout, and Tom Robinson and his family, and they dealt with it as best they could, sometimes not even knowing what they were up against, as with Tom. One should
think about how people are affected by racial discrimination, because it certainly hits home with the citizens of Maycomb, Alabama.

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1982.

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