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By nasty_22 Oct 05, 2014 814 Words
Racism in today’s society is just as present as it has always been. Maybe it is not painted in such vivid and bright colours, but it is still here. There are many instances that have occurred throughout history that we can pick and choose from to show how prejudiced we really are. Novels have also been written discussing the issue of racial discrimination one in particular highlighting how appalling and immoral it really is, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Our Australian history is not one to be proud of but one of the things that it does well is display to us how deeply ingrained racism is in our beloved country. The indigenous people who formerly had this land to themselves were classified as fauna. This law was only overturned as late as 1967. In the article ‘Lifting the Veil on Our Ingrained Racism’ by Sandy Gifford we are provided with multiple examples proving that racism is a part of our national character. As a child she was told that “Only coloured children wear white shoes”, still to this day she has never owned a pair of white shoes. This clearly illustrates to us that even though racism may not be something always so evident, it is something we take in as children and never forget, making it a fundamental part of our society. Social cohesion is something that will help the multi-cultural population of Australia achieve a community that works together and is accepting of all people. The endeavour towards social cohesion in Australia will not be smooth or simple. There will be many steps that have to be taken and bridges crossed. Simon Overland in his article”Inclusion Is the Key to Harmony” presents us with a viewpoint distinctly in favour of social cohesion. He says that “Social Isolationism and disengagement stemming, from among other things, racism and negative stereotyping, is the real problem”, referring to our incapability to exercise restraint in our assumptions, “that all Somalis and Muslims have strong links with terrorism”. Embracing the multiculturalism that we have been provided with in this country is something that will only lead to a more desirable and valuable way of living. In Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” one of the main themes explored throughout the story is racism. In the town of Maycomb where this novel is set, racism appears to be as natural as breathing to the people who live there. Harper Lee brings light to the inherent evils of racism basing the novel around an African-American’s conviction. Tom Robinson is convicted purely because he is a black man and his accuser is white. The evidence is so powerfully in his favour, that race is clearly the single defining factor in the jury's decision. “Tom's death was typical. Typical of a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger's mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind first chance he saw”, even after the harsh death of Tom Robinson no sympathy is shown towards him and we really see how deeply rooted racism is in the culture that Harper Lee describes. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set in the segregated South during the 1930s. Black people were highly subjugated members of society and continually classed as ‘lesser’. There is quite a social hierarchy displayed to the reader in this novel with some of the families who have no money or almost anything else, at the very bottom. But even below these families was all of the black community. All blacks are insignificant in comparison to whites in this novel. They always come second and were treated poorly. The level of racism demonstrated in the scenes of this novel is sustained simply by the close-mindedness of the people in the town of Maycomb. When writing the novel Harper Lee didn’t only include characters who were prejudiced and racist. She also included characters such as Atticus who believed that all humans are equal and he passed on this philosophy to his children, Jem and Scout. This in itself is a way to amend the issue of racial discrimination, offering hope for a better world. Parents teaching their children a way of living which includes considering things from other people’s perspectives. “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them”, some of the characters in Lee’s novel really did have inner strength and moral courage. For humans to live in peace and finally achieve that level respect and understanding we all want so dearly all we need to do is accept everyone including ourselves for who we are. See each and every human being as equal disregarding any other factors and giving them the level of appreciation you yourself would want. Only then will we all be able to live in harmony.

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