Often times folks will cite To Kill A Mockingbird, and the film inspired by the book, as one of their first introductions into the race relations conversation. Friends that I've asked about it have reported deriving a sense of justice and injustice within the story lines that made them question their classic Southern upbringings. I like To Kill A Mockingbird. On its face it is a book that brings about a lot of great discussions. Further critical analysis can leave you with some questions, though. I wonder how many of us are accepting themes from the character's lives without truly knowing. I've always wondered, for example, how much books like this perpetuate the need for Black victims to be saints. Tom Robinson had to be ever patient, long suffering, and demur. Tom Robinson is admirable. He had to be respectable, else he prove his guilt. If To Kill A Mockingbird was your first introduction into race discussions it would be easy to reference back to a formative memory of this character. I always wondered about the theme of the "good white person and their always good intentions". Jem's faith in justice is shaken, only because he was able to peak at Tom's reality safely from behind his own privilege. I always wondered about the way the worst thing Mayella could have done was to make advances toward a Black man. She is depicted as trash. Do only trashy white women make advances toward Black men?
Maybe we learned more than we think from this Gothic American classic? Maybe we saw, through this narrative and so many others, the acceptable postures that we expect people in our society.
Kim Kardashian (who is not white but isn't always openly identified by her heritage) is trash and she married Kanye. (Mayella and Tom)
Michael Brown was no angel. (saintly and admirable Tom Robinson)
Eric Garner was choked to death, there was no justice, and we are still shocked.(Jem's existential crisis at Tom's conviction)
I think too much.