Racism was a very large part of society in the south during the 1930’s. Many colored people were thought of as less than their peers. Whites were considered better than African Americans were, and almost every white person accepted the unjust judgment. Racial discrimination hit hard in the south. Many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird were impacted by racial discrimination, including Calpurnia, Scout, and Tom Robinson and his family.
One of the more “accepted” sorts of racism in the 1930’s was in the home. Many families had African American housekeepers, and the Finch’s were one of those families. When Aunt Alexandra moved in, she created some turbulence with Calpurnia. When Atticus was talking about how a man despised Negroes, Aunt Alexandra stated, “’Don’t talk like that in front of them’”(Lee 209). Unlike Aunt Alexandra, Calpurnia believes one should treat everyone with respect and put aside their racial, sexual, or financial differences, no matter what their social station (Telgen 292).
Calpurnia tries so hard to be approved by society the way the Finches have accepted her. She treats the Finches like her family. She shows off Jem and Scout because she’s proud of them, no matter what color their skin is. Calpurnia is not allowed at a white church, and when Atticus leaves, she decides to take the children to her church. “’I wants to know why you bringin’ white chillun to nigger church’” is what Lula, an African American woman at Calpurnia’s church, said when she saw Jem and Scout at First Purchase African M.E. Church (Lee 158). Calpurnia replied with, “It’s the same God, ain’t it?’”(Lee 158). Calpurnia tries hard to put aside racial differences and see a person for whom they really are, but she encounters obstacles no matter how hard she tries.
The People of First Purchase African M.E. Church also took a tremendous toll. When Tom Robinson was accused of raping Mayella Ewell, First Purchase, as well as the Finches, backed him up. They went out of their way to make sure he got what he deserved: freedom. Reverend Sykes makes sure that if Tom Robinson is falsely accused, his wife, Helen, and their children will not have to deal with the harsh world that they live in alone. “Reverend Sykes then said, ‘I want all of you with no children to make a sacrifice and give one more dime apiece. Then we’ll have it’”(Lee 163). They scrounge up their money little by little, even though they may need it for important things like food and clothes, knowing it is going to a family more in need than their own.
Though Calpurnia and the people involved in Calpurnia’s life are greatly impacted, Jean Louise Finch, a.k.a. Scout, deals with more confusion and frustration brought on by racial discrimination. During a day at school, Scout encountered Cecil Jacobs and his ignorant mind. “Atticus had promised me he would wear me out if he ever heard of me fighting any more… I soon forgot. Cecil Jacobs made me forget. He had announced...