"To Kill a Mockingbird": Racism Quotes

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 574 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 574|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Empathy and Understanding
  2. Conforming to Social Norms
  3. The Injustice of the Justice System
  4. Conclusion

To Kill a Mockingbird is a poignant exploration of racism and prejudice in the American South during the 1930s. Through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the readers are exposed to the harsh realities of racial discrimination that plagued the society at the time. One of the most powerful aspects of the novel is the use of racism quotes, which serve to highlight the pervasive nature of bigotry and injustice in Maycomb. This essay will analyze some of the most significant racism quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird and explore how they contribute to the overall theme of the novel.

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Empathy and Understanding

One of the most famous racism quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird is when Atticus Finch tells his children, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee, 39). This quote is a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy and understanding in combating racism. Atticus urges Scout and Jem to see the world through the eyes of others, to recognize the humanity in every individual regardless of their race. By encouraging his children to practice empathy, Atticus is teaching them to look beyond the surface and to challenge the prejudices that society often imposes on them.

Conforming to Social Norms

Another significant racism quote in the novel is when Calpurnia, the Finch family’s African-American maid, takes Scout and Jem to her church and they witness the congregation’s reaction to their presence. Calpurnia explains to Scout, “They’ll do anything for you, but it’s just their way … you ain’t called on to contradict ‘em at the table when they don’t” (Lee, 136). This quote reveals the complex dynamics of race relations in Maycomb, where African-Americans are expected to conform to the social norms set by white society. Calpurnia’s words highlight the limitations placed on African-Americans and the need to navigate these restrictions in order to survive in a racially divided world.

The Injustice of the Justice System

In a pivotal moment in the novel, Atticus defends Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, in court. Despite overwhelming evidence of Tom’s innocence, the all-white jury convicts him based on racial prejudice. Atticus solemnly declares, “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins” (Lee, 220). This quote encapsulates the deeply ingrained racism that permeates the justice system in Maycomb and reflects the harsh reality of systemic discrimination faced by African-Americans. Atticus’s words serve as a stark reminder of the pervasive nature of racism and the uphill battle for justice in a society built on inequality.

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a powerful exploration of racism and prejudice in the American South, as depicted through poignant quotes that highlight the pervasive nature of bigotry and injustice. Through characters like Atticus Finch, Calpurnia, and Tom Robinson, Harper Lee exposes the harsh realities of racial discrimination in Maycomb and challenges readers to confront their own biases. By examining key racism quotes in the novel, we gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of race relations and the enduring legacy of prejudice in American society. To Kill a Mockingbird remains a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today, serving as a poignant reminder of the importance of empathy, justice, and equality in the face of racism.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

“to Kill a Mockingbird”: Racism Quotes. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
““to Kill a Mockingbird”: Racism Quotes.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
“to Kill a Mockingbird”: Racism Quotes. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
“to Kill a Mockingbird”: Racism Quotes [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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