"To Kill a Mockingbird" is set in the 1930’s but was published in 1960.Have attitudes to racism remained the same or have there been any changes for better or for worse?

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goreadabook eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Things have definitely changed since the 1930's; however, racism still remains an issue in modern society.  First of all, the Civil Rights Movement was occuring during the 1960's when this book was published causing mixed reactions to the novel.  Some people felt that Harper Lee was racist becaues she used the term "nigger" several times throughout the book.  Others defended her saying that she was remaining true to the setting of the story.  The subject was extremely sensitive during the 1960's, but the fact that enough people were able to rise up and challenge it shows that attitudes had changed immensely.  We've improved even more since then, although we still have a long way to go before race is no longer an issue in this country or in this world.

charcunning eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Definitely changes for the better. In a short time, America has come a long, long way...still has a long way to go, but all things in due time!

Think about it...the setting of TKAM is the 1930's and Jim Crow laws ruled the land. Sure, there are some people that still believe that's how the world should operate, but for the most part, if a business were to even attempt to install rules like the Jim Crow laws, there would be mutiny from the community by people of all races.

Even in looking at the 1960's, when TKAM was published, America was STILL observing Jim Crow laws to some extent! And now today, we have Obama! A definite improvement over where we've been, and a good indication of where we're going!

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"To Kill a Mockingbird" was published in 1960, just as the civil rights movement really went into high gear. Since then, there have definitely been improvement in the attitudes towards African Americans. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned much of the discriminatory practices presented in the book. Juries of all white men are considered prejudicial to a Black defendant. Blacks can no longer be segregated in separate schools or housing. We even have our first African American president. Although racism still exists, we have come a long way from the way in which the issue was presented in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While racism might not be as prevalent, the overt acts of racism are every bit as bad as they used to be. In addition, a further danger might be the idea that many people have that racism is no longer a real threat. Also racism is affecting more and more other groups in our country.

zumba96 | Student

America has gone quite a ways from the degrading society it once was of other races. However, at this time, there has been major stories and outbreaks of how those of a different race, specifically African, have dealt with major hate. This showcases how some of society is still stuck with the vision of racist white southerners and how this is a corruption of the society as well. 

melody23 | Student

examples could be President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and singer/rappers

  what? >:/

sivart3 | Student
"To Kill a Mockingbird" is set in the 1930’s but was published in 1960.

Have attitudes to racism remained the same or have there been any changes for better or for worse?

Oh, do you have Mrs. Richards? I simply ,because the small space, the african american culture has gradually gotten better from the 30s to the 60, proof such as black's getting jobs and music carrers.

elihelmy | Student

examples could be President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and singer/rappers

salguii | Student


krishna-agrawala | Student

There is no doubt that attitudes towards racism have mellowed down considerably since the time of writing of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1930's. The fact that this novel which remained unpublished till for a long time was an indication of the racial prejudices existing in the USA. At the same time it's final publication in 1960 and it huge popularity after publication is a testimony to considerable reduction in racial prejudices. In nearly fifty years since its publication, there has been steady movements towards acceptance of all human beings as equal irrespective of cast, creed, religion, or sex.

Election of Barak Obama as president of USA in 2009, is a major landmark in progress of USA towards elimination of racial discrimination.

epollock | Student

There has been some lessening in the severity of the degree to which racism exists.  More and more focus is away from blacks and on other races and religions as the economy worsens, and people look to reasons why they aren't prospering.

krishna-agrawala | Student

There has been a gradual reduction in the severity of racist attitudes in USA since 1930's as a result of many different movements and campaigns against civil rights by many prominent leaders. These resulted in various government actions such as banning of racial discrimination in national defence industry (1941), banning of racial discrimination in armed forces (1948), setting, Supreme Court Decision against segregation in schools (1954), and setting up pf U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1957). We can say that all racial discrimination in USA came to an end officially with the passing of Civil Rights Act in 1964. However we cannot say that the racial prejudices among people of US has been totally eliminated. These still exist, although the severity is much less as compared to 1930's.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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