TKAM Quotes – Racism

“Scout,” said Atticus, “niger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything—like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negoes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.””You aren’t really a niger-lover, then, are you?””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.” Chapter 11Page 120-Teaching scout how racism works, doing the same for the audience-Racists use niger love to describe those who are fighting for African Americans to have special rights but Atticus points out he is arguing for equality.
Lula stopped, but she said, “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?”… When I looked down the pathway again, Lula was gone. In her place was a solid mass of colored people.One of them stepped from the crowd. It was Zeebo, the garbage collector. “Mister Jem,” he said, “we’re mighty glad to have you all here. Don’t pay no ‘tention to Lula, she’s contentious because Reverend Sykes threatened to church her. She’s a troublemaker from way back, got fancy ideas an’ haughty ways—we’re mighty glad to have you all.” (12.48-52) Chapter 12131-132-Jem & Scout experience racism first hand, feel like they’re the unique objects of someone else’s racism. Puts them in a unique position.
“It’s right hard to say,” she said. “Suppose you and Scout talked colored-folks’ talk at home it’d be out of place, wouldn’t it? Now what if I talked white-folks’ talk at church, and with my neighbors? They’d think I was puttin’ on airs to beat Moses.””But Cal, you know better,” I said.”It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not ladylike—in the second place, folks don’t like to have somebody around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates ’em. You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.” Chapter 12Page 139-Cal doesn’t get the same privilege of being the same person no matter where she is, she has to live a double life to fit in.-Occasionally conformity to what everyone else does makes sense.-Atticus & Cal offer two alternate ways to deal with a world where people cant deal with who people really are.
“They don’t belong anywhere. Coloured folks won’t have ’em because they’re half white; white folks won’t have ’em ’cause they’re coloured, so they’re just in-betweens, don’t belong anywhere. But Mr Dolphus, now, they say he’s shipped two of his up north. They don’t mind ’em up north. Yonder’s one of ’em.””…But Mr Dolphus, now, they say he’s shipped two of his up north. They don’t mind ’em up north.” Chapter 16Page 177-178Page 178-Racial injustice as the mixed children don’t belong anywhere-Novel mainly talks about white on black racism however mixed children experience racism too.-Although racism most often comes in the form of speech and actions, it is also present in the layout of the town is racial discrimination as are their ideologies about black people.-Jem also tells that the racism and strict divisions along colour lines are lessening in other areas beyond the South, where he live. In the South at the time of the novel, mixed race children were not accepted. (Context)
“Well how do you know we ain’t Negroes?” “Uncle Jack Finch says we really don’t know. He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain’t, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin’ the Old Testament.””Well if we came out durin’ the Old Testament it’s too long ago to matter.””That’s what I thought,” said Jem, “but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black.” Chapter 16Page178-Jem and Scout here are attempting to figure out how society is able to divide people up into races.-Why is one drop of black blood enough to overwhelm several gallons of black blood? Why does blood even have a racial identitiy?
“I seen that black niger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!”- Mr Ewell Chapter 17Page 190-Barley literate, but a wide vocabulary when it comes to offensive language-1) Dehumanizes tom, does not use his name nor the pronoun ‘he’.-2) Emphasises tom’s race, the mention of him being ‘black’ is redundant as he goes on to use the word ‘niger’.-3) Compares tom to a beast, the term ‘ruttin’ is often applied to animals.-4) Portrays Mayella as a passive victim.-5) Asserts his power over mayella ‘My Mayella’ as if Tom was trying to steal Mr Ewell’s property.
“She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man. Not an old Uncle, but a strong young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards.” Chapter 20Page 225-Citizens prefer to believe that a black man raped a white woman than a white woman kissing a black man.-Atticus uses the word ‘tempted’ implying that even if Tom could control himself he wouldn’t help by being tempted by any white woman. (Racist).
“Which, gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom Robinson’s skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.” Chapter 20Page 225-226-Atticus is right, we need to judge people as individuals rather than based on their race.-However, he also calls the lie of racist stereotypes ‘as black as tom robinson’s skin’ once again associating evilness with the black race. (Figurative language).
“There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads—they couldn’t be fair if they tried. 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. […]”The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.” Chapter 23Page 243-Something about race that infuriates white people-Holding up Jem’s youth as an exception because they suggest that whatever the X factor is, it is learned and not innate (inborn). Can perhaps be changed by education.-Acknowledges that law is not free of the prejudice that roams everyday life, it’s subject to the same problems.-Throughout the novel, Atticus’ voice is a hope for change however here he seems to accept that this is the fact of life suggesting that losing tom’s case severly dented his optimism.-Jem is at this time ready to hear a darker, grimmer version of how the world really works.
[Atticus says] “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.” Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears. I looked up, and his face was vehement. “There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance. Don’t fool yourselves—it’s all adding up and one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it. I hope it’s not in you children’s time.” Chapter 23Page 243 – 244-To kill a mockingbird wasn’t written in the 1930’s when it was set, but the 1950’s when the violent civil rights movement was taking place. Grown up Scout & Jem are paying for it now.
To Maycomb, Tom’s death was typical. Typical of a niger to cut and run. Typical of a niger’s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind first chance he saw. Funny thing, Atticus Finch might’ve got him off scot free, but wait-? Hell no. You know how they are. Easy come, easy go. Just shows you, that Robinson boy was legally married, they say he kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down to the line the veneer’s mighty thin. Niger always comes out in ’em. Talk about a downer. For all the talk of baby steps and the folks with background who oppose racism from Atticus and Miss Maudie, this passage suggests that there’s still a long way to go. Chapter 25Page 265-Talk of baby steps and people with backgrounds who oppose racism occurs often from Atticus & Miss Maudie for example-This passage suggests that there is still a long way to go.

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