the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.(Google deffinition).
Racism is the true underlining cause of the death of Tom Robinson, and the reason he was incarserated in the first place.
Tom Robinson was a black man accused of raping a white woman. Tom Robinson, who was legally represented by Atticus Finch, was shot down by the police force while trying to escape prison after he was wrongly incarserated. The evidence of racism being the cause of Tom’s death is present in the story line, and the evidence of racism having catastrophic effects in the common world is unbarable, and unneccarsary.
Mr. Robinson’s surroundings-
THE GREAT Depression of the 1930s was catastrophic for all workers. But as usual, Blacks +suffered worse, pushed out of unskilled jobs previously scorned by whites before the depression. Blacks faced unemployment of 50 percent or more, compared with about 30 percent for whites. Black wages were at least 30 percent below those of white workers, who themselves were barely at subsistence level.( Roshan Bharwani).
This intensified economic plight sparked major political developments among African Americans. Beginning in 1929, the St. Louis Urban League launched a national “jobs for Negroes” movement by boycotting chain stores that had mostly black customers but hired only white employees. Efforts to unify African American organizations and youth groups later led to the founding of the National Negro Congress in 1936 and the Southern Negro Youth Congress in 1937.(Lee Sustar).
I appreciate how Harper Lee never actually spells out the fact that Tom is innocent of the crimes of which he is accused. The reader is allowed to judge for himself/herself, but it becomes obvious to nearly every reader that Tom is innocent and that the Ewells are liars. Tom’s treatment must seem extremely harsh to readers in the 21st century who were not alive 50 years ago when the remnants of the Tom Crow laws were still alive in the South. The fact that Tom is charged with a capital offense solely on the word of a family member of the victim without the benefit of other eyewitnesses or medical evidence of rape would produce public outrage today; few prosecutors would bring charges with such flimsy evidence. Tom is charged because he is black, Mayella Ewell is white, and because the jury
“… couldn’t possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson’s word against the Ewells’…” (Chapter 9). since in 1935 Alabama, a white man’s word is always taken over the word of a black man. But this is not the cruelest blow against Tom. He is forced to face the possibility of a lynching and the indignity of being called “nigger” by both Bob and Mayella Ewell. Even the prosecutor, Horace Gilmer, repeatedly refers to Tom as “boy.” Tom’s wife, Helen, is denied work by the white community, who ostracize Tom’s whole family. In the end, Tom is little more than a human target for the prison guards, who riddle his body with 23 bullet holes after Tom tries to escape.
Tom Robinson was a good man who did not actually commit any crime, but was treat like a criminal. He was a Godly man but was treat like an outcast, but most importantly, he was a black man and for this reason, he was treat like a rapist. The indignity of the moral of the town would be constitutionally outlawed in todays law and expectations. Tom Robinson was a good man who was shot and killed, not because he committed a crime, not because he was trying to escape, but because of the colour of his skin.