Throughout the history of America, there has been a recurring issue, racism. The social issue has been used as a form of oppression to belittle groups of races that are considered inferior to the white race. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird gives multiple examples of how racism and prejudice affect the lives of African-Americans, by telling the story of a wrongly convicted black man who was found guilty, solely because of racial profiling. Today, racial profiling, inequality of the social justice system, and systematic inequality thrive and prevent America from progressing to reach equality. With racism and prejudice thriving, America will never achieve true racial and social equality.
Social equality, according to “Journal of Socialomics.” OMICS International, is “a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in certain respects, often including civil rights, freedom of speech, property rights, and equal access to social goods and services.” To get to a state of social equality America must remove the wage gap that lies between white and black American’s income. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in 2016 the average black man obtained only 70% of what the average white male income was. The wage gap creates corporate and social hierarchy because of race, in To Kill a Mockingbird, Mayella Ewell described the time she to chop up wood, she says ‘“I said come here, nigger, and bust up this chiffarobe for me, I gotta nickel for you.”’ (Lee 18) . To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the 1930s where common labor, according to, was $0.45 per hour. Tom Robinson only receives a nickel for his work and is called a racial slur in the process which shows systematic inequality.
Along with systematic inequality, inequality is the social justice system is still prevalent in today’s society. According to, America makes up 22% of the world’s incarceration population, in 2016 African-Americans made up 32% of the total U.S. prison population. With black people being three times more likely to be arrested for a crime than any other race, it is evident that there is injustice in law enforcement. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird addresses this social issue when officer Heck Tate arrests Tom Robinson despite there being lack of evidence, (Lee, 17). When Tate arrests Tom Robinson without any evidence, Tate used his social and racial hierarchy to remove Tom Robinson of his rights.
Racial hierarchy is a poisonous established social injustice that created racial profiling which is what causes people to be accused of actions they didn’t commit. For example, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird result in Tom Robinson being charge guilty, without any evidence, for the rape of a white woman (Lee, 21). Since Robinson was a black man that received a verdict from an all-white jury, it is clear that racial profiling is involved. Multiple racist remarks were made inside the courtroom during Robinson’s trial, yet no evidence was presented. It was simply based on the untrue words from a woman who possessed hatred for a race she saw as inferior. The racial hierarchy makes it impossible for the United States to reach social and racial equality.
The idea that America will reach true social and racial equality is incorrect. Based on statistics, America has set in place numerous inequalities, systematic oppression, and hierarchies to prevent any progress in reaching equality. Due to the fact America has a whole built and created by people who supported the oppression of other races there is not a possibility of reaching the success of defeating the oppression. America will never reach true social and racial equality because of the barricades of oppression that still stand in the way of progress.
Racial profiling, inequality of the social justice system, and systematic inequality thrive and prevent America from progressing to reach equality. Each of these values is presented in To Kill a Mockingbird displaying the injustice of each of them, and all of them still are active in how the nation is ran today. Due to the injustice, America will never reach true social and racial equality.
- “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2012/spring/1940.html.
- Daly, Mary C., et al. “Disappointing Facts about the Black-White Wage Gap.” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 5 Sept. 2017, www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2017/september/disappointing-facts-about-black-white-wage-gap/.
- Gramlich, John. “Gap between Number of Blacks, Whites in Prison Narrows.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 12 Jan. 2018, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/12/shrinking-gap-between-number-of-blacks-and-whites-in-prison/.
- “Journal of Socialomics.” OMICS International, OMICS International, www.omicsonline.org/scholarly/social-equality-journals-articles-ppts-list.php.