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Definitions
Stereotype:
A fixed idea/generalization that people have about what someone or something is like
Discrimination:
Unfair treatment of a group of people
Prejudice:
Opinion formed without thought or knowledge, that is unfair or unreasonable
Racism:
Belief that race influences a person's character/quality, or that members of a certain race are inferior


Key Events where each of these were raised in TKAM:

1. Stereotype

  • Against foreigner


    "This says I am Miss Caroline Fisher. I am from North Alabama, from Winston Country.' The class murmured apprehensively, should she prove to harbor her share of the peculiarities indigenous to that region" (pg. 22) Background notes: When Alabama seceded from the Union, Winston County (part of Al.) did not condone this action; it seceded from Alabama. The rest of the state was still angry with Winston County 70 years later. In addition, they believed that the country was full of vices ("liquor interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background")

  • Maycomb's Attitudes


    "The witnesses for the state, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County, have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to this court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption - the evil assumption - that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber." (p. 210 - 211)

2. Discrimination

  • Against Biracials


    "They're real sad." "Sad, how come?" "They don't belong anywhere. Coloured folks won't have 'em because they're half white; white folks won't have 'em 'cause they're colored, so they're just in-betweens, don't belong anywhere" (p. 166)

  • Against Poor Children


    "He ain't company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham-' (p. 30)"She [Mayella] was as sad, I thought, as what Jem called a mixed child: white people wouldn't have anything to do with her because she lived among pigs; Negroes wouldn't have anything to do with her because she was white." (p. 198) Kang Wei, I think this was the a reference you brought up? :) Not mixed as in biracial, but yes, she was 'mixed' in another sense - she was the target of a combination of two different prejudices. To all: please be specific in your use of the word 'mixed'.

3. Racism

  • Labeling


    "Do all lawyers defend n-Negroes, Atticus?" "Of course they do, Scout." "Then why did Cecil say you defended niggers? He made it sound like you were runnin' a still." (p. 81) Cecil's use of the word 'nigger' was in the derogatory sense. He implied that Atticus was doing something socially illegal by defending a Negro.
    Interesting note: Did you kids know that the term "running a still" refers to distilling alcohol at home? It's regulated, if not prohibited in some countries for many practical reasons ;)
  • Dill's Prejudice


    "He likes 'em better than he likes us, I reckon. Lives by himself way down near the country line. He's got a colored woman and all sorts of mixed chillum."(said by Scout)... "He doesn't look like trash," said Dill. (p. 166) To Dill, people linked to Black Americans are 'trash' by association.

  • Maycomb's Attitudes


    "He had to, that's why he was doing it, equaled fewer fights and less fussing. But did that explain the town's attitude? The court appointed Atticus to defend him. Atticus aimed to defend him. That's what they didn't like about it. It was confusing." (p. 169)
    "The court appointed Atticus to defend him": They intended only for Atticus to represent him as his lawyer, but make no real effort in presenting his case.
    "Atticus aimed to defend him": Atticus took this case seriously, and truly stood for the rights of his client's interest - even if he had to build a case against a white man.Scout didn't understand the implications of how the word 'defend' was used - this was why she was confused! Aha... She was unable to see the shades of difference/nuances in meaning.

    "To Maycomb, 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." (p. 246)
    Maycomb stereotypes people from the black society to be barely civilized, irrational beings that are unable to think ahead or react in a calculated manner.

  • Mr Gilmer


    "You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?" Mr Gilmer seemed ready to rise to the ceiling. The witness realized his mistake and shifted uncomfortably in the chair. But the damage was done. Below us, nobody like Tom Robinson's answer. (p. 203)
    Mr Gilmer was using the jury's racism to fuel his case.

  • Racism is specific


    "... I heard [Ms Gates] say it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were getting way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly about the folks right at home'
    People are not just racist in general, they're racist against a group of people.
    And even with education, fixed ideas and irrational beliefs can be resistant to change even if people know that it's wrong to discriminate against people.