To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about bravery and courage in a small town. Racism is present and is the main theme throughout the story. Everyone in Maycomb County is consumed by the hatred and impurities of prejudice, everyone but the main character, Atticus Finch. He was a lawyer in the small Alabama community who helped defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Atticus goes through some tough times as this trial is going on, as well as his kids, Scout and Jem. They are all called nigger-lovers and such. Harper Lee wrote this particular story with determination and perseverence in mind. She wanted people to realize that racism is real and it does no good at all, only harm. She was well acknowledged for writing the book, To Kill A Mockingbird. It won a number of awards and was then made into a movie which was a box-office smash. To Kill a Mockingbird was a book about realistic issues; such as racism and the troubles and hardships of growing up.
…Everybody jumped on him, beat the hell out of him….Everyone was hitting him or kicking him. One guy was hitting on the side of his face….He was unconscious. He was bleeding. Everyone had blood on their forearms. We ran back up the hill laughing…He should have died….He lost so much blood he turned white. He got what he deserved (Dave 71).
The skinheads who performed this act of racial violence in 1990, had no reason to
brutally beat their victim other the fact that he was black.
Racism is objectively defined as any practice of ethnic discrimination or segregation. Fortunately, racial violence is steadily declining as the turn of the century
approaches. Now a new form of racism, covert racism, has recently sprung from the
pressures of political correctness. This new form of racism, although slowly declining, still shows signs of strong support (Dietch 6). Covert racism assumes a form of civil disobedience against politically correct thought and speech. Essentially, covert racism is a hidden racism, or a racism not easily detected (Dietch 7). Racism is still strongly prevalent in today’s society (Newquist 404).
There are three different basic forms of racism: violent racism, open racism, and covert racism. They are similar because they all share the expressed forms of hatred towards distinct ethnic groups. These basic forms of racism, although different in form, all have the same main purpose: to promote racism. Open racism expresses freedom of racial thought and speech. Open racists promote their views through strictly persuasionary tactics. This form of racism is allowed in out society because of the First Amendment. Open racism is currently almost nonexistent and steadily declining, because it is considered politically incorrect and socially unacceptable. Violent racism promotes racism through violence, fear, and persuasionary tactics (Billington 110-111). This form of racism is not protected by the First Amendment because it promotes violence, and therefore these groups are protected by the First Amendment because not enough
sufficient evidence exists to prove their violent intent (Billington 111).
Covert racism expresses ideas of racism in disguised forms: sometimes the covert racist is not even aware of the fact that he is a racist. Racism, it is asserted, is no longer blatant; people nowadays are reluctant to express openly their dislike of and contempt for
minorities, indeed are not prepared to express publicly a sentiment that could be interpreted as a racist (Erisman 127). Racism, it is said, is subtle: it is disguised, kept out of sight. The suggestion that there is a new racism–a racism that has a new strength precisely because it doesn’t appear to be racism–deserves serious consideration. Avoiding minorities on the street and denial of a public benefit to a minority which would be awarded to a white are examples of covert racism. Since it is no longer politically correct to openly express one’s racist views, people therefore favor disguised, indirect ways to express their bigotry (Cash). Covert racism is the most abundant form of racism in our society today.
What causes racism? Unfortunately, the answer is much longer and detailed than the question. The three main causes for racism are: racism has become part of our heritage, right-wing radical and political groups, and pride in one’s own race. Practically, since the dawn of man’s existence man has undoubtedly noticed differences between races. Racism’s presence throughout the formation of our culture is formation of our culture is quite evident (Tindall). Frequently throughout the ethnic group with the most power has assumed that its race and culture are superior to others. The most
same incident even occurred in America with the introduction of slaves. Throughout American history, racism has been strongly prevalent. Racism’s roots lie deep within the foundation of our society (Cash).
These roots undoubtedly are the source for a great many of the racist groups and
covert racism ideas found throughout our society. Extremist social and political groups, particularly those advocating right-wrong policies of racial inequality promote racism as well. These groups serve as the epitome of racial thought and speech.
The following represent various racist groups found throughout the United States: John Birch Society, Ku Klux Klan, Knights of the KKK, Invisible Empire, NAAWP, White Aryan Resistance American Front, Nazi Skinheads, Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nations, The order, and National Alliance (Tindall). All of these groups are given the freedom to express their ideas of racism because of the First Amendment. Although the First Amendment protects the speech of these groups, many more the less find it necessary to use violence to promote their cause. Racist groups now make extensive use of covert racism to extend their message of racism throughout our society. This form of racism has proven quite effective, in the past ten years, at persuading others to adopt racist ideas. These groups serve as a symbol of racism itself to many in our society. A large source of the racism present in our society stems from one’s pride in his own race. Many people, especially those associated with racist groups, find it necessary to put down
other ethnic groups in an attempt t strengthen their own (Deitch 6). This mode of thought and reasoning usually results in extreme hatred of other races ans an overall sense of bigotry. Reasoning in this manner equates to many associated with racist groups. Pride in one’s race may eventually lead to covert racism thought.
Covert racism affects our society in a variety of different manners. Indeed should
be said covert racism has permanently scarred our society, both politically and socially (Cash). Racial politics have changed since the era of the civil rights movement, when the issue of race at it’s heart, came down fundamentally to whether whites were prepared to accept other races at their equals. Now, however, the issue of race has become more complex because there are now multiple agendas including affirmative action, quotas, and set-asides. The main agenda revolves around affirmative action, steps taken by an employer, school, or other institution to expand opportunities for blacks, Hispanic people, women or other minority groups. The clear implications of the most recent Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action programs is that such programs will be upheld in certain circumstances to remedy past discrimination (Newquist 407). However, many whites view this special treatment of minorities for past discrimination as discrimination against themselves. This reverse discrimination has lead to many debates and controversies concerning race and racial politics. Unfortunately this sort of political environment encourages covert racism in many whites as a counterback against affirmative action. Our political system must first become racially unbiased before our
society may become more ethically diverse. If all men were created equal, then why should differences in race matter? Our society has yet to live up to the standards set by our forefathers. Racism, especially covert racism, still affects our society socially. Covert racism is a form of civil disobedience for racists to spread ideas of racism
throughout our society. After all of the pain and trouble the world has been through, still the fact remains that there is racism and there probably always will be.