Racism, Sexism And Socioeconomic Prejudice In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

861 words - 3 pages

People are not born prejudiced. “It is something that is learned". It can be learned in the same way other attitudes and values are learned, primarily through association, reinforcement and modeling. For example, children may learn to associate a particular ethnic group with poverty, crime, violence and other negative things” (2006 Anti-Defamation League). Also, prejudice in “children may be reinforced by listening to derogatory ethnic jokes, especially when others laugh along or think they're cool”. Lastly, children may simply imitate the prejudices of their older family members and popular friends. Prejudice is to pre- judge. “Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group”. (Kendra Van Wagner) Therefore, people are not born prejudiced but it is something learned by family, friends, peers and the media. There are many different types of prejudice. The three that are most current in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee are racism, sexism and socioeconomic prejudice.
Racism is a big problem in many people’s lives. Throughout history, many groups and cultures have been significantly affected by racism. African Americans are an example of a group of people who have suffered the effects of racism. In 1867 the “Ku Klux Klan, was founded as a secret organization terrorized the African Americans and the black population at large. The group indulged in brutally murdering the black community and anyone socially advocating their cause. In the Southern states, the Colfax and Coushatta massacres in 1873 and 1874 were just some of the many brutal assaults launched against the African Americans.” (Prashant Magar, 3, 5/19/2009). Moreover, racism is evident in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the main chaacters later on in the novel Bob Ewell accused Tom Robinson of raping and beating his daughter, Mayella Ewell. A few days later, when the case was brought to court, Tom was found guilty although everybody new that Tom did not really do it. Atticus Finch, Tom’s lawyer, had proven to the jury that it was Bob who had raped his daughter, but since Tom was black nobody was going to question it if he was in jail or not. It was clear that Bob had a grudge against Tom because he accused Tom of abusing his daughter when he hadn’t seen anything happen. Overall, racism has been going on for many yeas and although it may not be as much as of a problem it is still happening.
Another type of prejudice is sexism is a problem all over the world, just as it...

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