In America, life was very different in the 20s and 30s. Sure, televisions were just appearing and technology in general wasn”t nearly as advanced as it is today. These points however, though relevant, are not relevant to my point. No, I”m really focusing on racism in these first few decades of the century. “To Kill a Mockingbird” has a town called Maycomb in it, and this town, is stereo typically what a town in the southern United States would have been like in these early years.
In the book, as in real life back then, racism was a part of every day life. In some states, slaves still existed even. It was a dark and cruel world for all blacks back then. They weren”t considered as equals. Tom Robinson is accused of committing a crime which he didn”t do in essence, because he was black. They had to blame it on someone and if the blame could go on a “nigger” then all the better. In the trial, Tom Robinson had so much evidence pointing out that he was innocent but he was still charge guilty. Why? Because he was black, it was as simple as that. There was nothing that Atticus could have done.
Even if there had been a mountain of evidence against Bob Ewell, Tom would still have been found guilty. In the world back then, in Maycomb county, people were racist and they didn”t think it was wrong because they didn”t know any better. You even see Scout slowly become one. She says things like, “He”s just a nigger. “. Racism isn”t even rebelled against in Maycomb by the blacks because they too, don”t know any better. They live their lives in appalling conditions but they don”t realise that as they have never lived any other way. Unfortunately, people took advantage of them not caring what happened to them because they were just “niggers”.
Unfortunately, in some parts of the world today, things haven”t changed. In the 1800s, a group called the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were formed by veteran fighters of the Confederate army during the American civil war. This group”s name came from the Greek word Kluklos, which means brotherhood. This group was dedicated to protecting the south from “invaders” or blacks, Jews or gays. They believed that the Aryan race had to regain control over the South and blacks were inferior. This group formed into different sections and basically became a cult or otherwise known as a sect.
They were fundamentalists who wore white robes and carried torches. They hanged black people for public entertainment and unfortunately, at the time, they had many supporters. After a few years, this group diminished its actions and it died down. It unfortunately came back strong in the 1920s and 30s. This group, unfortunately, became much more organised and changed from just a disorganised group of people going around on horses hanging people, to an organised group which had a grip over the whole country, from east to west, with rulers with crazy names such as, “Grand Titan” or “Grand Cyclops”.
These names may sound crazy and silly but this generation of Klan were very serious indeed and I think in essence, the rules really changed. The Civil war was a thing of the past and it was no longer the case of, “Protecting the confederacy”, it was just now, basically, a racist group. Fortunately, as horrible as the first and second world war were, they distracted the American people away from the KKK and the KKK died down again. Unluckily, it was not gone forever as one would have hoped. It came back in the late fifties. From then on, the Ku Klux Klan went on doing horrible acts of torture and assassination towards black.
They became more high-tech. They started planting bombs in black frequented places. It really became a horrible sickly war. Today , the Ku Klux Klan is still very active in the southern United States. Just recently, a black man was tied to the back of a truck and dragged along a road until his elbows peeled off and his head rolled away. The 20 year olds who did this were caught. It was only supposed to be an “initiation” to get into the KKK. These boys are under trial right now. Every day, black people are stopped by the side of the road and beaten. Racism exists world wide, the KKK are only in America.
In England, racism is very present as well. Black people are much more liable to be stopped and searched than a white person is. The sad part of this is that people in every profession can be racists, that”s including the police. The police can be racist and when that happens, black people have absolutely no one to turn to and that is a sad fact in their lives. In Germany, and much of the world, there are neo-Nazis. They have shaved heads and fight for the Aryan race. I have seen videos on them and they are frightful. They talk about the thrill of seeing a “nigger” in the sights of their sniper rifles.
All these groups are extremists and there are so many of them that it is practically impossible to stop them all, because firstly, there are too many of them and secondly, chances are, part of the law enforcement agencies trying to stop them will be racist. It is a hopeless war that we are losing. I fear that racism will never totally go away. Blacks, however, have not always just stood by and watched as white people beat them down. They have fought back, and they have fought back viciously and, less often, peacefully. There have been some very powerful black speakers. Martin Luther King Jr. ave hope to black people in the 60s.
The sixties were a bad time fro blacks in the U. S. until Martin Luther King Jr. appeared. He was, for once, a black politician respected by white people. He led the march on Washington by blacks but the major change that really separated him from other black activists, apart from his speech skills was that he wanted to resolve the problem peacefully. He was a pacifist that went by the book, that book being the bible. He enforced Jesus” famous sayings, “Love your neighbour” and “Love your enemy. ” He persuaded every one of his followers through remarkable speaking skills.
He mesmerised blacks, and whites, all over the country. He was truly, the messiah of the black people. He wasn”t the only one to fight back though. Many others fought back very violently indeed. There was an amazingly strong group in the late sixties which went on into the seventies. This group were called the “Black Panthers”. They were amazingly well equipped and had a lot of support. They were a prime target for police in these years and they constantly exchanged firefigths. Many were killed, on both sides. The police managed to kill 28 of them on one occasion and they went completely mad.
They organised rallies and were feared everywhere in America. In the early 70s, the police managed to clamp down on them. They killed all the main leaders and the rest left the U. S. to avoid arrest. The Black Panthers were to be no more. There were many riots which had no real leadership in the late sixties. Black people rebelled in great mobs and caused panic wherever they passed. Malcolm X also lived during this time and he became the other really famous black rights activist. He became Muslim at one point in his life and his argument was that blacks had to learn to live with each other before they could attempt peace with the whites.
He is, still today, an idol to many black people. Fortunately, all of this rebelling did have an effect on the white population worldwide. In America, white and black seats on buses were abolished, white and black benches were abolished. Blacks became almost, “free”. Take South Africa. Another example of a racist nation with Apartheid. Apartheid was abolished thanks to the rebelling of blacks. Blacks fought a war, all around the world, and won. Even though racism has been abolished in most places, it still exists and what has happened in the past will always be there to scar our history.
Unfortunately, there will always be sick people in this world, fundamentalists who don”t know when to stop. They take things too far and a rebellion, by the blacks, was bound to happen. It may have been bloody but if it wouldn”t have happened, then who knows what the world would have been like. We do our best to capture people from the KKK or neo-Nazis but there will always be racism somewhere in the world because a racist”s children will be brought up that way. It”s a simple fact of life. Many people, in fact, many entire races are discriminated upon. Take what just happened to Ocalan, the Kurdish leader.
The Kurdish people have nowhere to go. They are being killed in Iraq, they are being killed in Turkey, and they have no country to go to. I think this a perfect example of the point I am about to make. Many non-racist people in a way, show pity for people like these. Kurds rebelled all over Europe, in extreme cases, they even burned themselves. All this rebelling won most people”s hearts around the world. Now people back the Kurds and are against the Turks. This just proves how speaking out can help immensely. Now the Turks are in trouble, they won”t be able to enter the EU.
The Kurds really did it by speaking out. By the mid-seventies, many white people supported blacks and wanted a change in the government to be made. This came soon thanks to the power of free speech. Men and women like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X will always have a place in my heart for theirs is a bravery, almost, like no other. They fought against all odds to bring a whole race, out of the slums. There are different kinds of courage. There is courage in battle, and there is courage in aid, but this courage, no, it”s like no other. These men and women, will have followers forever.
Atticus” courage was a very peculiar one. It was one that was not expressed on the outside, but rather a quality that was on the inside, unbeknownst to Scout and Atticus until the trial. Atticus” courage was one with the same likeness of Martin Luther King”s. He went against all odds and problems humiliation, shame, distrust, even discrimination against himself, to follow through with something in which he believed in. After all of this effort, he isn”t even rewarded with justice. The jury itself is racist. It was an unfair world back then, and, unfortunately, in some places, it still is today.