To Kill a Mockingbird Anna Lorenzon

Racism is prevalent in many societies; everyone judges the people in the environment that they live in, and opinions are shaped from personal values and beliefs. Racism has been around since different races of people came together. The book To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, explores the mind of a young girl in the 1930s and the, often racist, behavior of those around her. These racist behaviors were most likely shaped by the attitudes from a racist group from the 1920s called the Ku Klux Klan. They intimidated and acted violently towards the newly enfranchised black freedmen. Racism often also brings social injustice, which is expressed in the recent Travel Ban. This ban prohibited Muslim entrance in the US for 120 days because the current administration is afraid that Muslims will bring terrorism. The view that white people have of black people in TKM seems to be similar to the view that a significant fraction of the US has of Muslims. Racism is one of the most important social issues. It affects how people perceive others.

both a masked white person and a nazi are judging a black man

To Kill a Mockingbird (TKM hereafter) relates to a historical group called the Ku Klux Klan. The jail scene in TKM and the mindset of the KKK are both instances where extreme racism takes over in a form of mob mentality. In To Kill a Mockingbird, a group of men come to the jailhouse, where Tom Robinson is, to go lynch him, rather than letting him go to court. Instead of trying to find out if he is guilty, the mob just wants him gone. This is an example of racism because the men would not go to lynch a white man before the day of his trial. The KKK was a group that aimed to spread terror among black men with a white supremacist agenda. “They whipped and killed freedmen and their white supporters in nighttime raids.” ("Ku Klux Klan") In this instance, the groups of people in the KKK also went around in the night to spread fear and to lynch people. They wore robes and sheets to prevent people from identifying them, and to scare superstitious people. Just as in TKM, the mob who came to the jailhouse may have come in the night as to not be identified by the members of the community, who may have tried to stop them. The views of members of both groups have been affected by the views of those around them, and make individuals start thinking in a dangerous mob mentality.

four members of the KKK dressed to mask their appearance

The recent Muslim Ban and the view of black people in Maycomb county both show that minorities are often thought of as being dangerous. In To Kill a Mockingbird, many white people have a view that all black people are bad and do bad things. In Atticus’s speech, he even addresses that some people “would go along with the evil assumption--all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted with our women…” (Lee 273) This shows that many white people in TKM believe that black people are inferior to them. In the recent travel ban, the current administration makes it seem like “all Muslims do bad things and damage the country.” (Criss) The view that white people have in TKM is the same view that a fraction of Americans have these days about Muslims. They both imply that the other race does worse things, but few ever speak about how white people (as a group) also do bad things and commit crimes. A fraction of white, black and Muslims commit crimes. It is socially unjust for black people in TKM and Muslims in the current time period to be treated as if they are inferior to others.

a protest against the Muslim travel ban

Racism has been a social problem for decades. The KKK, scenes in TKM , and the recent Muslim travel ban are all examples of how people wrongfully deal with other groups who are different from them. They think of other groups as “inferior people.” It is important to understand the history of racism because racist behavior still happens today.

the civil rights movement


"Ku Klux Klan." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 17 Feb. 2017. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Boston: Grand Central, 1960. Print.

Criss, Doug. "Trump Travel Ban: Here's What You Need to Know." CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Jan. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

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