Through the Lens : Racism

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Elizabeth Muralles
Miss Nuzzolillo
Honors Sophomore English
November 19, 2012
Racism Throughout Our History
Even when everyone tries their best to be equal towards one another, people always end up being racist because of differences in ethnicities. This is shown all around the world in small and large countries especially the United States. The amount of diversity in the United States leads people to interact with others who might not necessarily be the same ethnicity as they are. This is portrayed in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Raisin In the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and other contemporary issues going on in the United States that racism is mainly caused by people thinking that their ethnicity is better than another person’s.

Racism is prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race/ethnicity. In 1991 Rodney King was beaten by members of LAPD after a car chase. Any policeman does not have the authority to hit anyone unless it is in self-defense. In this case Mr. King had not done anything to threaten the policemen after he got out of his car. Rodney King being an African American, the Caucasian policemen felt threatened by the idea that he might do something due to his ethnicity. The Caucasian race in this case tends to think that they are better than any the race especially the African Americans. Racism is seen in day to day life not just in the media.

Novels written in the 1960s still can be reflected on today because some of the lessons or ideas are still true. Bob Ewell in To Kill A Mockingbird portrays the concept of racism in a very modern way that will most likely never change. Like many Caucasians during this time period Bob Ewell feels threatened by the African Americans. When his daughter Mayella claims she has been raped by Tom Robinson, a local African American the situation immediately gets public attention and is taken to court. During the trial Bob Ewell says “‘Well, Mayella was raisin this holy racket so I dropped m’load and run as fast as I could but I run into th’ fence, but when I got distangled I run up to th’ window and I seen—’ Mr. Ewell’s face grew scarlet. He stood up and pointed his finger at Tom Robinson ‘I seen that black n***** yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!’” (Lee 172-173). Tom Robinson was being convicted of a crime he did not commit. Due to his African American Tom Robinson was not even close to equal to that of a Caucasian during this tie period. Inequality of a race/ethnicity leads to racism of another group of people such as Bob Ewell towards Tom Robinson. Atticus unlike Bob believed in everyone being represented equally especially in the courtroom “‘Do all lawyers defend n-N*****, Atticus?’ ‘Of course they do, Scout.’ ‘Then why did Cecil say you defended n*****? He made it sound like you were runnin' a still.’ ‘I'm simply defending a n**** - his name's Tom Robinson”’ (Lee 75). The town seems to be seeing Atticus as a bad guy because he is defending an African American when he is simply doing it because it is what he thinks is right. Bob Ewell, a person who is not generally involved becomes the center of attention and loses the little amount of dignity he had left because of how racist he was towards African Americans. Bob was the racist one in this case he believed that because he was white and Tom was not that Tom should be blamed for this crime just because Bob thought his ethnicity was better.

Issues that are seen through several books or stories can be interpreted as the most important. In A Raisin In The Sun the Youngers are on the receiving end of the racism. Like most immigrants the Youngers are just looking to find a better life, to be successful but in their community it does not seem to be the easiest thing. The segregation is very obvious especially when Walter says to Mama “‘Mama – sometimes when I’m downtown and I pass them cool-quiet-looking restaurants where them white boys are sitting back and talking ‘bout...
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