In chapter 11, Atticus makes Jem read to Mrs. Dubose as punishment for destroying her camellia bushes, and Scout asks her father if he is a "nigger-lover." Atticus responds by telling Scout,
"I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put, sometimes—baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you" (Lee, 112).
Atticus's response to being called a racial slur is one example of how he attempts to teach his children that race does not matter. Atticus is not ashamed to be associated with black people, regardless of the community's negative perception of him.
Following the Tom Robinson trial, Atticus has an enlightening conversation with Jem regarding the corrupt court system in Maycomb. When Jem argues that they should completely do away with juries, Atticus elaborates on the nature of the court system. Atticus tells Jem,
"In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life" (Lee, 224).
When Jem continues to argue with Atticus, he proceeds to tell his son,
"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, 224).
Atticus is straightforward with his children when he refers to prejudiced people, who take advantage of black men, as trash. Atticus's comment is another example of how he encourages his children to exercise tolerance and treat everyone equally regardless of race.