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I'm Guilty Because I'm Black (To Kill A Mockingbird Essay) - With A Free Essay Review

“There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but these are the facts of life,” said Atticus Finch. During the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, white people were racist. If Tom Robinson were white, he would have not been found guilty, but because blacks had fewer rights, a lower social economic standing, and a substandard access to the judicial system, he was.

White people had more rights over black people in the 1930’s. Blacks couldn’t vote, they had different restaurants, parks, and even water fountains. During the time period of To Kill a Mockingbird, African Americans also had bus segregation. They also had poor education, which led them to a lower social economic standing.

Most people were also judgmental, they judged everything, including clothing and the way you present yourself. Blacks could not present themselves to a jury to make them appear innocent because they didn’t have the nicer upper class clothing that white people had. They simply could not afford it because they had less of an education and chance to get a good paying job. The only reason Blacks were lower on the social ladder was because they were forced there. Even if they were able to present themselves well, they were just usually found guilty compared to a white man.

Tom Robinson could have actually been guilty with strong evidence. Evidence that the prosecutors did not have. Courts were simply not fair because whites always had a better chance compared to a black man. That’s just how the judicial system was.

The reason Tom Robinson was guilty was because he wasn’t white. Whites had more rights. Blacks were far below the social economic ladder because they were forced there. The judicial system wasn’t fair towards African Americans. Had Tom Robinson been white, he would have walked away an innocent man.



You conclude your review of the extent and consequences of the oppression of African Americans in the 1930s with this comment: “Had Tom Robinson been white, he would have walked away an innocent man.” I think that is an interesting claim, but I am not sure what it is a claim about. Tom Robinson is a character in a novel, after all, not a person from history. I would guess, if put to it, that you want to make a claim not about, or not just about, the fictional character and the fictional world he inhabits, but about the real world, which you take To Kill a Mockingbird to have fairly and perhaps comprehensively represented. Even if that is the case, however, it remains unclear to me whether the conclusion you come to is based on your knowledge of the world (from sources other than the novel) or whether it is based on your knowledge of the novel (as representative of the world). It’s not clear, in other words, whether history teaches you how to understand the fate of a fictional character, or whether the novel teaches you how to understand history. So you need to clarify (for the sake of this poor reader) what your essay really is about. If you want it to be about the book, then I think you need to refer more frequently to the events of the book, and then clarify the implications of those events for your thesis. If you want to argue that Tom Robinson’s plight represents the plight of real historical people, and does so accurately, then I think you would need to cite some historical evidence (beyond your own assertions of what it was like for certain black people in the 1930’s).

Best, EJ.

P.S. Your original title was “I'm Guilty Because I'm Not Black.” That could have been an attempt at irony, but I suspect you meant to say “I’m Guilty Because I’m Black” or “I’m Guilty because I’m Black.” I’ve taken the liberty of changing the title.
Submitted by: AnLHStudent

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