Racism In 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
Ivy Tech 111
12 December 2016
To Kill a Mockingbird Race is defined as “a socially constructed category of identification based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliation, or shared culture” (“Race”). It has been the center of social interactions for decades and has spurred unthinkable actions by people who believe their race is superior to another. Racism is present among all racial groups, although more prominent between some races than others (i.e. blacks and whites being one of the most common examples). The argument over whether racism is an idea that is instilled in a person by those around them, or if it has always existed in the minds of people, is ongoing today. Despite how racism …show more content…
This thing was so … opposed to all the conceptions of society… that the only justification … was to divide people into races and decide that the Africans were an inferior race” (Taylor). When the first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 (“Slavery”), there began the start of an institution that would be the root cause of wars, countless deaths, and constant struggle and strife for innocent people that were hated simply because of their skin color. During the twentieth century, the tension between blacks and whites and the mistreatment of African Americans by Caucasians that stems from racism, was a part of everyday life. The belief that blacks were the inferior race was so common that the issues of racism and segregation became ubiquitous. Separate bathrooms and water fountains, separated seating areas, and the general degradation that African Americans were subjected to by whites, were constant reminders to everyone that blacks were thought to be inferior. Racism was not only present in everyday life, but in literature as well. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the early 1930s, during the period of the Great Depression, and is replete with examples of racial injustices and the moral questions that the institution of racism precipitates. The Tom Robinson case became a staple of racial injustice not only in the storyline of To Kill a …show more content…
The story of Emmett Till illustrates the brutal nature of racism, and showcases the frightening capacity for hate and violence that a racist society possesses. After a long day of picking cotton, Till and a group of teenagers went into a grocery store for refreshments. There will never be a definite answer as to what happened between Till and the clerk that day in the store. The teens that were with him reported that Till flirted with the clerk, or that he may have whistled at her or touched her hand, but regardless of how the interaction between the two went, it would be the reason for his brutal murder four days later. The clerk’s husband and his half brother kidnapped Till and beat him brutally. His face was bludgeoned so badly that the only way his body could be identified was by a ring on his finger engraved with his father’s initials