Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird | Teen Ink

Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird

May 24, 2012
By Anonymous

I'd like to talk about racism in the South in the 1900s and specifically the way it is shown in To Kill A Mockingbird. I am completely appalled by the way the people of Maycomb try to be subtly discriminatory and not be completely obvious about it yet they still are clearly racists.

One major example of racism is Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle gathering in Chapter 24, specifically Mrs. Merriweather. For one thing, she calls blacks “darkys” which is an incredibly demeaning name and makes them sound like children or something. She also tells of how she was ordering her “darky” cook to be less “sulky” the day after one of the cook’s fellow blacks, Tom Robinson, was convicted of a crime he clearly did not commit. This shows absolutely no compassion for the feelings of black people and makes it sound like she thinks they are pets or farm animals that she can just boss around as much as she wants to. She was also indirectly insulting Atticus for trying to help the blacks, saying “ ‘Some of ‘em thought they were doing the right thing a while back, but all they did was stir ‘em up.’ ” (p. 311) Mrs. Merriweather continued to insult Atticus until Miss Maudie reminded Mrs. Merriweather that she was in Atticus’ house, eating his food as she said this. There is also a lot of hypocrisy among Maycomb County citizens. One example of this is when Scout’s third grade teacher is telling her class about Hitler. She says “ ‘Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody,’ ”(p. 329) when trying to explain to her students the difference between democracy and dictatorship. This quote, when contrasted with how the citizens of the teacher’s own town (and probably the teacher herself) are persecuting the blacks. Racism is very prevalent in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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