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Published in the fiscal year 1960, the novel, To Kill a Mocking Bird, was written by Harper Lee. The author employs her vast knowledge of the Southern part of America in the fiscal year 1930 to illustrate the theme of racism in America. In addition, the author employs her knowledge of the justice system to show how the theme runs. The author’s goal is not to narrate the occurrences of Scottboro trials but to depict the various kinds of discrimination that occur in the society. This essay seeks to explore why race is an issue in the novel.
Race was an issue during that time because of racial segregation. The period 1960 was marked by a series of racial segregation acts against that black community. The black people were made slaves and were treated as properties of the whites. From the novel, the Maycomb community was plagued with racism (Lee 31). Racism was a major issue with the black people too. For instance, Lula, a black woman condemns Calpurnia for bringing children of white people to the house of God. Lee portrays the black people in the novel as passive people who take the roles that have been given to them by white people. The Jim Crow laws restricted black people from taking part in major activities in the southern region. Consequently, the laws gave the white people ability to have power in the South.
Race enabled a person to be treated as an individual. People who were not whites were treated as non-citizens (Lau Chin 3). Lee depicts the caste system that existed in the society where black people were placed at the bottom rank. The white people who treated people with respect were ridiculed. For instance, Aunt Alexandra fears being ridiculed because she doesn’t want to be mocked about her beliefs of equality of all men (Lee 86). Black people were either denied jobs or forced to work low paying jobs. In addition, their children were denied the right to have proper education. As citizens of the US, the black people were denied justice. This meant that they were falsely accused and tagged as criminals.
Race determined whether an individual was a criminal or not. Black people were mostly associated with criminal activities. The most recent racial discrimination is racial profiling. From the novel, a black man was charged falsely for the rape of a white woman named Mayella Ewell (Lee 190). Tom was convicted despite having many evidences that proved his innocent. When Atticus attempts to prove Tom’s innocence, his children are mocked as nigger lovers because of his stand to defend an innocent black man (Lee 87).
As of such, race is an issue in the novel, to kill a mocking bird. Through various illustrations, the author has been able to depict the race relations that existed in the period 1960s.