The Affliction of Hues

The spread of racism is a result of subtle thoughts in man’s heads to genocide. As society moved from being a group to one based on chemical skin chemicals, racism spread around the globe. At some point, lynching and genocide were inevitable. Harper Lee has written a book called To Kill a Mockingbird that describes such events. Ms. Lee struggles to deal with the racism that Maycomb uses with different characters. She does this by using Tom Robinson and Calpurnia as her three characters Scout.

Tom Robinson’s struggle to survive is a case of culturally accepted racism. Tom was simply viewed by society before Mr. Robinson. Atticus’ closing statement to the jury explains that Tom Robinson has not done anything by using society’s inaccurate view of black’s in his favor. Truth is out there, and it’s this: Some Negroes lie. Others are immoral. And some Negroes should not be trusted around black women. This truth is applicable to all human races and not just one race. This courtroom is filled with people who have never told a libel or who have never admired a woman in lust. The slow and gradual segregation between races has made racism acceptable in society and the justice system. Although officials in government and the justice department are thought to be the true power, both are human beings. Both receive the same social perceptions of humanity as the general population. Inequality and corruption are a result of the belief that the higher power is just as stereotypically divided by gender and race than society. This allows people of white skin to profit from the black ethnicity. Atticus describes Tom Robinson’s skin as “black lies”, which is how Atticus’ inaccurate view of skin colors changing the personality and morals makes it useless. Atticus goes above and beyond to show that all people lie and display immoral behaviour. Atticus states that, although society is expected truthfulness, humans can be amoral. Atticus’s statement that no courtroom member has looked up to a woman with no desire suggests that all people in the room are male. This allows Atticus to speak to his audience and explain his point. Atticus tries breaking down the barriers between Black and White skin, but Tom Robinson’s murder sentence fails. Atticus addresses Jem to explain why Tom Robinson was convicted. If it’s a man of color against a man of colour, in our courts, the man of white always wins. They are ugly but that is the reality of life.” (295). Atticus admits the fact that law is not independent from society’s prejudices and frequently supports racism by making incorrect decisions based on skin colour. Tom Robinson is an excellent example of this because of his innocence as well as the fact that he was accused by a white person. Mayella is a woman and Mayella is a white man. However, Mayella’s skin color makes it so powerful that it defeats the cultural hegemony of women. Tom’s case summarizes simply “the White Man Always Wins” Modern society’s “ugly fact” is the end result. Maycomb, which is the justice system, has the power to fill with hate and bias. Tom Robinson, a strong black character, is featured in Ms. Lee’s novel. But many other characters are also a representation of the violence of racism. Mrs. Dubose’s aggressive behavior shows the same. Mrs. Dubose – an old lady that sits outside and yells at her neighbors, “Your father doesn’t deserve better than the niggers and trash they work for!” (135). Scouts are hurt and jem by Mrs. Dubose’s harsh and inaccurate view of reality. Atticus being a Scout’s helper in Tom Robinson’s case during his childhood would be considered “disgraceful” for the black community. Mrs. Dubose has a different way of expressing hate. She uses phrases like “niggers,” to try and shame Atticus. Even though it causes indirect suffering for the children, this racism can help them see the reality of Maycomb’s racism. Mrs. Dubose suffering serves to distribute hate and racist ideas, but ultimately it’s the people who receive them.

Scout’s struggles with racism create a contrast between dark and light. Scout’s innocence and her light skin stand in contrast to Maycomb’s vile racism. Scout is presented as a child who has not been influenced by racism or evil and continues to learn from new experiences. Atticus, her dad, tries hard to make Scout as open-minded. Atticus once asked, “Atticus?” I replied that Atticus was asking, “What exactly is the nigger-lover ?” Atticus replied that ‘Scout’ is an example of one of those terms which doesn’t even mean anything. It’s difficult for me to explain. Some people use it when they need a common, unflattering term to describe someone. Scout encounters more racism because of Atticus’ willingness to openly listen to her. Atticus is not a racist, but he simply explains to Scout why they use the terms. Scout is able to respect his brother’s views, while still being open to hearing them. Scout’s open mindedness and understanding of the impact racism has on people is evident in Scout’s perspective. Scout and Jem often have discussions and attempt to understand the workings of society. These conversations lead to serious, but childish, discussions about how racism operates in Maycomb. Jem then explains how one drop of blood from a black person can overwhelm gallons containing white blood. The symbolism and analogy of blood in human beings is meant to show how racist Maycomb is and how blood can spread it from one generation to the next. Maycomb residents don’t claim superiority because they are white, but because there isn’t enough black blood. Scout uses Jem’s and Atticus’ interactions to combat the racism she encounters.

Racism, as seen in To Kill a Mockingbird’s story, is often regarded as a dark hate within Maycomb’s community. Ms. Lee is struggling with racism due to the inclusion of three characters, Calpurnia and Scout, as well as the different characters Maycomb has. Maycomb was infected with racism and black skin. Racism was a condition that caused whites to become insane. It was the same as rabies for blacks. Racism can also be found in Maycomb novels and in modern times. Racism has a way of changing people’s experiences and lives, just as Maycomb did. This will continue as long the people aren’t all the exact same in terms both of diseases like rabies or skin color.


  • noahtaylor

    Noah Taylor is a bloger, teacher, and writer living in upstate New York. He is the author of the highly successful educational blog, Noah's World, and the creator of the popular teacher resource, Noah's Notes. He has also written for many online publications, including Parenting, The Huffington Post, and The Learning Place. Noah is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.