Connections Excellence Essay Ncea Level 1 English The Theme Of Racism Across Texts

2015 words - 9 pages

Connections​ Report - As 90852 Zhane Skipper
Racism is the belief that one race or culture is fundamentally superior to another. This
difference is commonly employed as fair grounds for discrimination and an act of prejudice
that many humans in the developed world have adopted into their nature. The texts that I
have chosen that examine this statement are ​To kill a Mockingbird​, by Harper Lee, ​The
help​, by Kathryn Stockett, ​After you my dear Alphonse​, by Shirley Jackson, and ​Noughts and
crosses​, by Malorie Blackman.
Examples of humans being particularly racist to the African American community are
displayed all throughout the text ​To kill a Mockingbird. ​A way in which characters in the
text do this is influenced by racial injustice in the court of law. When Atticus Finch was
fighting to persuade the community of Maycomb and the Jury that the accused black man,
Tom Robinson was not guilty, but was in fact, completely innocent of raping Mayella Ewell.
Although Atticus puts up an outstandingly convincing argument with clear and powerful
evidence proving Tom to be innocent, the Jury still proceed to declare him as guilty. After
the shocking defensive performance displayed by Mayella’s side with poor evidence to back
up her conviction. “I got somethin’ to say an’ then I ain't’ gonna say no more”... “That nigger
yonder took advantage of me an’ if you fine fancy gentlemen don’t wanta do nothin’ about it
then you’re all yellow stinkin’ cowards”. It becomes clear that even if the Jury were truly
convinced that Tom was innocent, they would have still portrayed him to be guilty. After
all, this was a case of a black man rapimg a white woman. They would have been too afraid
to say otherwise. This conveys the atmosphere and speaks to the seriousness of how strong
racism was in the 1960’s in Jackson Mississippi. This text also conveys the fact that it
became so much a part of human nature that people seemed to excuse the tyranny of
racism with absolutely no empathy for the victims being affected. This is simply because
they didn’t want to be outspoken and be known as a “nigger-lover”. They did it for their
own selfish reasons and were too afraid to upset the established attitudes towards African
Americans so they were prepared to condemn an innocent man.
The text ​The Help ​also identifies an issue of unjust behaviour based on race, Similar to ​To
kill a mockingbird ​ with Atticus, ​The Help​ portrays the idea of how much courage is needed
to go against the normality and racist thoughts of society. Skeeter, a white woman,
daughter of a cotton family, joins together with Ailbileen and Minny, two black women who
work as maids, to challenge the unfair practices that make the lives of the town's black
members so difficult. They do this simply by anonymously publishing a book which tells
the story of the lives of black maids which include the physical and emotional abuse they
are put through and the everyday practices that make them feel dehumanized. In the end,
not only does this book become a national best-seller, but a powerful force in giving a voice
to the black maids and causes the community to reconsider the carefully drawn lines
between white and black. This text not only outlines the fact that we need people who are
prepared to swim against the flow in society to help others less fortunate, but also that
everybody has a voice that they should use, no matter how big the consequences are if you
say it. Everybody's voice is important. This aspect of the texts connects to Atticus from ​To
kill a mockingbird​. Both Atticus and Skeeter have shown us actions from both statements
through being able to see that black people are not fundamentally different and inferior to
white people and speaking to the seriousness of it. When Skeeter states “​On my drive
home, I want to kick myself. For thinking I could just waltz in and demand answers. For
thinking she’d stop feeling like the maid just because we were at her house, because she
wasn’t wearing a uniform”. This portrays the fact that she understands how the maid she
was interviewing felt fundamentally different and inferior towards Skeeter, however she
did not want her to feel this way because she understands it’s wrong and not how things
should be.
Racism is a concept that has been passed down and inherited into human nature. In the text
After you, my dear Alphonse ​ the author seems to be examining this statement by
constructing an overall moral truth that racism is not something that you are born with,
but something that you are taught. As Johnny and Boyd are children in this this text, they
are considered colourblind, so Johnny's view towards Boyd is very innocent and he doesn’t
view Boyd as the stereotypical “poor black boy” like his mother, but as a human being, as
he is. Johnny does not share the narrow minded view that his mother has towards African
American people. It becomes obvious that Johnny's Mother is so narrow minded when she
lists items of clothing she is willing to donate to Boyd's family. “ Johnny has some suits that
are a little too small for him, and a winter coat”...”They aren’t new of course, but there’s still
lots of wear in it”. This outlines the fact that even though she had just met Boyd, she has
assumed he must be poor because he is black. Through this Shirley Jackson (the author)
wants us to understand that racial thoughts and behaviour are given to you and trap you
into thinking likewise by the people that surround you. Johnny and Boyd are too young to
have yet conformed with society's way of thinking, but it starts off with parents
subconsciously making remarks of other races. This also has a connection to the text ​To kill
a Mockingbird​. Scout and Gem, Atticus’s children are so accepting of the other race because
of Atticus’s influence and how he has bought them up that way. Although, in the text​ The
Help ​Skeeter was brought up in a racist environment it also goes to show that racism would
have been hard to escape from thinking similar to unless you stayed true to your personal
beliefs and morals. Because this text was a short story, we are never told what Johnny's
views turn out to be like towards black people as he gets older and maybe conformed to
society's way of thinking. He can either gradually integrate with society's stereotypical
views like his mother who is more than likely going to be influencing him, or he can be like
Skeeter and stay true to his personal beliefs that he conveys at the age that he is now and
have the same opinion on Boyd as he does now, regardless of parental influences.
The Discriminating act of racism is shown in the text ​Noughts and Crosses​. Unlike most
texts that have encountered a racism theme where whites think they are superior over
blacks, in ​Noughts and crosses​ it is the other way around, so blacks believe they are more
superior over whites. There are many examples of acts of discrimination within this text.
One of which is when the noughts get accepted into Heathcroft. A School in which offers
education leading students into University that were known to only consist of crosses.
Majority of the noughts on the other hand go to a more run-down school that offers poor
education that enabled no calculated university entrance ever in the history of the school.
Heathcroft only consisted of cross students until a politically forced law allowed nought
students an opportunity to attend under passing a set exam. After passing the set exam,
that is exactly what very few of nought students did. Although they got accepted into the
school academically, the people in the School-including the Teachers did not accept them at
all. When the crosses entered Heathcroft for the first time, the Students formed a mob
chanting “No blankers in our School” and physically harming the cross students. The term
“blankers” is just as bad as referring to a person with dark skin as a nigger. A quote from
the text shows furthermore how people are judged in this fictional society. “If you're black
that's where it's at, if you're brown stick around, if you're white say goodnight”. From this,
it becomes apparent that the Crosses thought they were fundamentally superior over the
noughts which caused them to blindly believe that their unjust racist behaviour was
acceptable. This aspect, as a whole, makes us realise that it connects to all three previous
texts ​To kill a mockingbird​, ​The help​, and ​After you my dear Alphonse ​where characters are
often left thinking that their racist behaviour towards the race opposite them is acceptable
simply because they believe that they are superior over them.
These four texts emphasise the fact that both black and white people can be affected
negatively due to the prejudice and discriminating acts of racism. The act of racial injustice
in the court of law is displayed throughout the text ​To kill a Mockingbird​, where a coloured
man, Tom Robinson was found guilty of a crime even though there was greater evidence
proving him to be completely innocent. This not only acted upon his life in a very negative
manner, but it also acted upon Atticus and his children's life in a negative manner as well.
Just because Atticus was defending a black man who in the eyes of the racist community of
Maycomb was known as an outsider, it caused Atticus and his children to be titled as
“nigger lovin” outsiders as well. The text ​The help ​ shows that the lives of black house
maids in the 1960’s in Jackson Mississippi were especially hard. With everyday practices
that the white race participated in from Jim Crow laws to not even allowing the maids to
eat at the same table as them, this enabled the maids to feel dehumanised and merely
shunned from society. This also impacted on their lives emphatically negatively. The text
After you my dear Alphonse ​represented how being surrounded by poisonous thinkers is
essentially the key in making you think just as poisonously as time continues. Johnny's
Mother constantly jumps to conclusions about his new friend Boyd because of his race. She
makes multiple actions that lead us to assume that she perceives Boyd as a stereotypical
poor black boy. This is displayed when she offers him unnecessarily large portions of food
and suggesting that he takes some of Johnny’s old clothes for his family. Johnny realised his
Mother’s absurd behaviour because of the young age he is, but as time goes on, Johnny
could be made to think just as racially poisonous as his mother without even realising it as
she does as well. This could essentially impact his life negatively by changing his thoughts
and friendship with Boyd. In the text ​Noughts and Crosses​ it becomes apparent that crosses
consistently believe that their racist behaviour towards the noughts is acceptable. These
acts of racism affects the nought society in negative ways. Not only does it act upon them in
a way to make them feel humiliated, but it also stops them from having access to things that
every human should be allowed access to regardless of the colour of their skin, a good
education. From reading all four texts audiences are manipulated to understand that the
acts of racism are influenced and maintained through people's surroundings and societies
conformed way of thinking. In order to change these racist prejudicial ways of thinking,
people need to understand that stereotypes are false generalisations. Also it might also be
that their personal values need to change. These values could be anything from being more
accepting of others. With this comes respect which is something we are all taught during
School within our core values, to respect others. Small acts such as this could subtly
influence people to change this poisonous thinking.

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