In To Kill a Mockingbird, what truth does Atticus say applies to the human race and to no particular race of men?

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mrwickline | High School Teacher | In Training Educator

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While defending Tom Robinson, Atticus points out that the entire courtroom has unfairly judged Tom on the basis of his skin color. He draws attention to the blatant racism and prejudice by elaborating on the Maycomb community members' “evil” assumptions that all black people lie and are basically immoral beings. Atticus Finch says, “The truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.”  Simply put, Atticus argues that convicting Tom because he is black is logically inconsistent and makes no sense. Tom Robinson is a human being, just like everyone else, and despite differences in appearance we are all human and capable of making mistakes. Tom’s color should have no effect on the outcome of the case, and he should be treated as a human without prejudice.  

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