12 March 2014
Racism Then and Now
In the book To Kill a Mockingbird many examples of extreme racism occur which can be compared to the racism still happening in the twenty-first century. People may think racism has improved over the years, but in reality we’ve just become better at covering it up. Racism is beginning to get better, although, some people have grown up with the norm and begin stereotyping before they even have the chance to think to themselves whether or not their opinion is actually valid.
In chapter twenty-three Atticus was talking to Scout and during the conversation Atticus said, "As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.” (Lee) Scout and Jem are so acquainted with white superiority that Atticus has to explain to them it is not okay to treat who they call the “negro” this way. There were many instances in To Kill a Mockingbird that would have been considered offensive today but were completely normal in their time period being: the way they talk, the places they sit, or the amount of respect they receive both in and out of the court room.
Children are growing up witnessing racism on TV, hearing it in schools from friends and growing up thinking it’s not a big deal. Children are being bullied and judged solely on skin color rather than traits that actually matter. In 1954, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, making racial segregation in schools to be unconstitutional. July 23, 2009 an unnamed victim was reported being continuously bullied in schools after her purposeful overdose on stress relievers and pain killers. She claimed she suffered in silence with fear the tormentor would become angry and rebel if reported the bullying. Furthermore, when the teens mother reported the bullying to the schools she said, “When I first informed the school, they as good as called me a liar. I then had a long battle convincing the police to take this seriously.” (Daily) Kids all around the world are silently suffering from things such as racial discrimination and no one would ever have a clue. In the book, Tom was charged for rape, assault and silently suffered knowing he had no intention of having sexual relations with Mayella that day. Tom was a black man, therefore, no matter how hard he fought or what words he said, because of an all-white jury they showed no mercy when assessing charges towards him. Tom had to suffer because of skin color, as did the fourteen year old girl.
Although we have improved racism today, it still exists. We don’t necessarily have black and white water fountains anymore, but we can still clearly see instances of racism today in court, trials and many instances on TV. The Trayvon Martin case is believed by many to be based more on race rather than on hard evidence. Zimmerman, on the neighborhood watch committee, found Trayvon Martin walking in the neighborhood with merely skittles and tea acting