Racial Inequality In To Kill A Mockingbird - Grade 10 English - Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

Racial Inequality in To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird​ by Harper Lee teaches us about the problems of inequality and
divisions within society. It shows the realities of inequality from several different perspectives
and reflects on the harsh judgments that people received. The main source of inequality in the
novel is race. This was a major source of conflict throughout history in the south, which is where
the story takes place. Having a different skin colour resulted in a lower social class, harsh
judgment and unfair treatment. This is clearly shown throughout the book.
In Maycomb County negroes were considered the lowest class. Jem said, “There are
four kinds of folks in the world. There’s the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there’s the
kind like the Cunninghams in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump and the
negroes.”(226). This is organised in order of social class, negroes being the lowest. The novel
shows that the Ewells are terrible people yet they are still ranked above the negroes because of
their skin colour. Calpurnia is considered lower class because of her skin colour. She acts like
any high class women would and is like a mother to Jem and Scout however race is the
determining factor when ranking social class. The majority of the black people in ​To Kill a
Mockingbird​ act mature and respectful unlike the Ewells who are “a disgrace to Maycomb.” Tom
Robinson is another example of a well-mannered black person. Scout said, “It occurred to me
that in their own way, Tom Robinson’s manners were as good as Atticus’s” Atticus is considered
the highest class while Tom is considered the lowest even though their manners are very
comparable. While discussing Boo Radley, Scout said, “The sheriff hadn't the heart to put him in
jail alongside Negroes,” (11). This shows that they are considered a very low class and being
near a black person is almost a punishment. Atticus said “You know, it’s a funny thing about
Braxton...he despises Negroes, won’t have one near him”(156). This is another example that
shows that people feel that being near a black person is a punishment because of racial
inequality and the social class ranking.
People with coloured skin were judged quickly in a negative way. The white people living
in Maycomb would assume the worst of a black person. They have a certain reputation that is
well known by many people. Scout said, “Typical of a nigger’s mentality to have no plan, no
thought for the future...that Robinson boy was legally married, they say he kept himself clean,
went to church and all that” (240). Scout is young but has already learned to judge and assume
based on someone's skin colour. Tom was judged incorrectly, he was a responsible adult with a
family and does live the way a stereotypical black person would. Bob Ewell was known to
discriminate because of race. He did not know the people but because they looked different,
they did not receive respect. Tom Robinson was judged v...

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