One of the ironies of Dill's, Scout's and Jem's maturations and remarks about Maycomb's "caste system" is the fact that they themselves have operated in a social strata, not considering everybody equal to them. For, one of the first things they do is to categorize Boo Radley as a "haint,"Miss Stephanie Crawford a gossip and label Miss Caroline an outlander as from Winston County, the only county in Alabama that was sympathetic to the North in the Civil War, a war not forgotten in the area that suffered the many damages. But, when Scout witnesses the results of this fluent social discrimination that her Aunt Alexandra expresses and the social prejudices of Mrs. Merriweather, she becomes disturbed and becomes cognizant of the hurt that such attitudes cause. Of course, Scout, after saying "He's just a Negro," (Ch.19) about Tom, learns the harmful effects of subjugating some to such an inferior position.
- Here are quotes relevant to the inequalities of humans:
1. "Cal, he's just a Cunningham--" (Ch.3)
2. Scout asks her father if he "defends n*****s (Ch.9)
3. Mrs. DuBose uses this invective, too, telling Jem and Scout, "Your father's no better than the n****s and trash he works for!"(Ch.8)
4. When Calpurnia takes the children to church with her on Sunday, Lula stops her, "You ain't got no business bringin' white chillun here--they got their church, we got our'n. It is our church, ain't it, Miss Cal?" (Lula wants to have something that belongs solely to her people only) (Ch.12)
5. Aunt Alexandra's visit enlightens Scout and Jem on the shortcomings of a number of families:
No Crawford Minds His Own Business, Every Third Merriweather is Morbid, The Truth Is Not in the Delafields, All the Bufords Walk Like That (ch 13)
6. Aunt Alexandra reminds Scout that she is "not from run-of-the-mill people, that you are the product of several generations' gentl breeding--" (Ch 13)
7. In the Finch yard on Sunday afternoon before Tom Robinson's trial on Monday, Link Deas expresses his concerns about what could happen before the trial begins, "...it's that Old Sarum bunch I'm worried about..." (Ch. 15)
8. Scout observes about the Maycomb jail that it has a "respectable look, and no stranger would ever suspect that it was full of n*****s." (Ch. 16)
9. Mr. Dolphus Raymond has been ostracized from the white members of the Maycomb community who are not considered "trash." Outside the courthouse, Mr. Raymond sits with "the colored folks." When Dill asks Jem why the man sits there, Jem replies, "He likes 'em better'n he likes us, I reckon." "He doesn't look like trash," said Dill. (Ch. 17)
10. At the Missionary Tea, Mrs. Merriweather faces Mrs. Farrow: "Gertrude, I tell you there's nothing more distracting than a sulky darky." (Ch.24)
An interesting scene comes after Tom Robinson's trial. Scout and her classmates have been asked by their teacher to bring in "current events" to discuss with the class. Cecil Jacobs, a student, brings up the incarceration of Jews by Adolf Hitler. Miss Gates, their teacher, says that she is against the persecution of the Jewish people, and that Americans don't believe in persecution.
This is almost immediately juxtaposed to a statement by Stephanie Crawford about the African Americans living in Maycomb: "It's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us" (Ch. 26).
This chapter illustrates the perspectives of the white people of Maycomb, who are at the top of the social hierarchy. They look down upon African Americans, openly persecute them, yet object to Adolf Hitler's inhumane treatment of the Jews.