What's wrong with this statement?"Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. There are no better people in the world than the Jews and why...

What's wrong with this statement?

"Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. There are no better people in the world than the Jews and why Hitler doesn't think so is a mystery to me." In chapter 26, Scout's teacher said this. List at least two things, thank you!!

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Gates, of course, is a hypocrite, but she is apparently not very knowledgeable about the history of her own country.  For, it can hardly be said that "over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody," (What about the Native Americans--not to mention African slaves?) and "there are hardly any better people than the Jews."

Not too far from Miss Gates's state of Alabama is Florida where there were signs in hotels which read, "No Jews Allowed."  Hotels such as the Fountainbleu and others that are on the lower peninsula forbade any Jewish people from lodging there.  (Ironically, nowadays, many of the hotels in South Florida are owned by them.)

As a flat character, Miss Gates typlifies people who have convoluted ideas about prejudice:  one for those with whom they live whom they perceive as a threat in some way, and one for groups with whom they have no involvement or knowledge, and they are, therefore, no threat.  She is a perfect example of the type of person who is supposeldy educated, but is totally unworldy and lacks common sense in her myopia. 

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Gates is pretty clueless, alright. She claims that "there are no better people in the world than the Jews," but she most likely has not met many in little Maycomb. She may well be making this assumption from Biblical history and not from personal experience. Her stance probably stems from the U. S.'s earlier conflicts with Germany during World War I, and she is taking the politically correct, patriotic view of the average American of the 1930s. How a well-educated woman (remember, women do not have the full rights of men at this time--example: no women allowed on Alabama juries) could support the Jewish cause and still believe in the persecution of the American Negro is not logical. She is, of course, proper in her evaluation of Hitler's anti-Semiticism, but she is wrong that people are not persecuted in the United States. Blacks, women, Native American Indians and Jews all received uneven treatment during the 1930s in Alabama and throughout this country; soon, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans of Asian descent would join that group. 

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is Miss Gates speaking. The problem with the statement is that she is being a complete and total hypocrite. She is criticizing Hitler for persecuting the Jews, yet right here at home, she (along with many other white folk) continues to persecute Negroes right in her home town. The trial proved Tom's innocence, yet her racism blinds her to the truth.

She is prejudiced. She is a persecuter, and Hitler's actions should not be any kind of mystery to her. He kills blatantly, but she and her kind kill from the inside out attacking the soul instead of the person.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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