Jim Crow in To Kill a Mockingbird
Jim Crow Laws and Their Influence in To Kill a Mockingbird “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed” (323). Mayella knew what she had done, and that this was the only way out of it. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been considered so wrong if racism and discrimination didn’t affect how people see things. In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jim Crow Laws contribute to the outcome of Tom Robinson’s case.
Racism, disdain, and injustice all are all presenting factors that make up the foundation of Jim Crow.. First, the racist viewpoint of the white’s influenced their thoughts of how things were. In a system supported by racism, white believed “blacks were innately, intellectually, and culturally inferior to whites” (“What Was Jim Crow”). People truly believed that the color of your skin affected how smart a person was, and how high their status could be. Even today there are people convinced that a white person automatically has more class, more taste, and more brain power, just because they were fortunate enough to be born to two white parents.
These things are considered a way of life that influences 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” (273). This quote demonstrates how the way people think, their state of mind, and how they were raised, influences what they believe everyday life should be like for different raced people.Racist thoughts encouraged Jim Crow segregation and why it was considered a necessity. Additionally, the case reflects how white women affiliating themselves with black men were looked down upon. It’s clear in the fact that a majority of the United States would “impose legal punishment on people consorting with those of another race” (“Jim Crow Laws”). The distorted view of blacks caused people to find it disgusting and immoral for races to intermix.
It was so repulsive they made it illegal and marriages void. Despite of these unjust facts, the idea of love between people of different races was not unheard of. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus reveals the elephant in the room to the townspeople in his closing argument, saying, “[Mayella Ewell] knew full well the enormity of her offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was breaking, she persisted in breaking it” (272). This code Mayella broke, was blinded by people’s views of how it was always the Negro’s fault, and they therefore refused to accept it. Since Mayella understood what she had done was forbidden, she knew had to deny it.
The influence of people’s views and reasoning for Jim Crow, such as her father’s, made Mayella feel obligated to send a totally innocent man with a wife and children to jail. Finally, it is demonstrated in the way that people of color were not protected by the law. If a black man were to make a mistake and a white woman was involved, “they risked losing their homes, jobs, and even lives” (“What Was Jim Crow”). Jim Crow was created and carried out because of people’s belief of the necessity of segregation. If a law such as intermixing was crossed, a black man would not get the same treatment as a white man of a similar crime, nor a trial in the same way.
Atticus demonstrates this when he says, “And so a quiet, respectable, humble Negro who had the unmitigated temerity to ‘feel sorry’ for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people’s” (273). When Tom’s verdict is reached