Examples Of Racism In To Kill A Mockingbird

In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what are some examples of the acts of racism, besides the injustice of Tom Robinson's trial?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One example is Mrs. Dubose's comments to Scout and Jem as they pass her porch.  She is obviously unhappy that Atticus has chosen to defend Tom Robinson, and shows her racism when she says things like

"Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for!"

She is demonstrating her racism in her commentary, and her attitude towards Atticus.  She also obviously thinks that black people rank in the same category as "trash."

Another example is when the group of angry men congregate outside of the jail to do harm to Tom Robinson.  They want to take him out, hurt him, or possibly worse, simply for being black. Then, there is the delightful Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Farrow, who prattles out their racism at the missionary circle that Aunt Alexandra hosts.  They talk about how their black servants have been acting downright "sulkym dissatisfied" because of the trial, and how it was no good to "stir 'em up," referring to the black people in town.  Mrs. Farrow says that it's no good trying to educate or better black people...it is just "a losing battle".

One other example is Bob Ewell who harrasses Tom's wife after the trial, trying to intimdate her into not going to work, and not passing his direction in her walk.  He, as a white man, thinks that he is better than her, so he bugs her and scares her, and thinks that he has the right to do so.  Also, consider Adolphus Raymond, a white man who chooses to live with a black woman.  He is the scandal of the town, and must carry around fake liquor in order for people to think that he is drunk, and thus excuse his "crazy" behavior.  The town's racism comes into play as the refuse to accdpt that a man in his right mind would choose to spend time with a black woman.

I hope that those examples help a bit; good luck!

zumba96 | Student

Mrs. Dubose is a great example because Scout and Jem have no choice but to visit her and read to her, however, they really dislike her. On top of that, she always calls their parents a terrible name. When Scout feels unsure about this, her father says it is ok because it is true and it means he loves everyone no matter what race. This also reflects poorly on Mrs. Dubose. Mrs. Dubose is very rude to Scout, Jem, and their father because he is taking the side of justice. 

princess312 | Student

Lula- shows racism towards the white children, Jem and Scout, when they visit Calpurnia's church

Aunt Alexandra- shows racism towards Calpurnia

She waited until Calpurnia was in the kitchen, then she said, “Don’t talk like that in
front of them.”
“Talk like what in front of whom?” he asked.
“Like that in front of Calpurnia. You said Braxton Underwood despises Negroes right in
front of her.”
“Well, I’m sure Cal knows it. Everybody in Maycomb knows it.”
I was beginning to notice a subtle change in my father these days, that came out when
he talked with Aunt Alexandra. It was a quiet digging in, never outright irritation. There
was a faint starchiness in his voice when he said, “Anything fit to say at the table’s fit to
say in front of Calpurnia. She knows what she means to this family.”
“I don’t think it’s a good habit, Atticus. It encourages them. You know how they talk
among themselves. Every thing that happens in this town’s out to the Quarters before

The jury at Tom Robinson's trial shows racism because all the evidence indicates that Tom is innocent but all the jury members plead him as guilty.

Helen Robinson- faces prejudice due to her husband supposively raping Mayella. No one wants to hire Helen.

Tom Robinson- faces racism from Bob Ewell. Bob Ewell accuses Tom of raping his daughter. A white man's word is taken over a black man's word due to the racism in those times.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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