A Truly Biased Book

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” promotes the anti-Southern narrative. The overwhelming majority of white people in the book were racist while only one black woman was presented as racist, Atticus was attacked for defending Tom Robinson even though the court chose him to, and the white people of the town believed Bob Ewell’s case more when he was totally untrustworthy. 

Although in the town of Maycomb, Alabama, most of the white people were hateful towards black people – with the exception of the main character, Scout, and her family – there was only one black who was spiteful toward whites. She was a woman at the black church who didn’t want Jim and Scout worshiping with them. In contrast, almost every white person was either racist, while all blacks were kind, loving, and friendly towards all the whites.

Another example of this stereotype is the Tom Robinson trial. Tom Robinson was the main black character accused of raping a white girl named Mayela Ewell. Although the Ewells had no evidence that Tom committed the crime, he was still convicted. Tom’s lawyer, Atticus, who was Scout’s father, interrogated Mayela so forcefully that she eventually admitted that Tom had not actually raped her, but then claimed that he had just beaten her. It soon became clear that her father, Bob, was the one who had done the physical abuse as a punishment for Mayela trying to kiss Tom when she invited him into the house. By the end of the trial, it was obvious that Tom was innocent and everybody in the court seemed to know that, so by convicting him anyway the author, Harper Lee, hammered home the theme of inescapable Southern racism.

Moreover, Atticus was shunned for defending Tom, yet the court chose him to be his counsel. It seemed the people of the town weren’t mad at him accepting the case, but for legitimately defending him. They thought that Atticus should play along but not really give him the strong representation that this black man needed. If Atticus had done what the people wanted, then his reputation as a lawyer would be ruined for not actually working for his client.

Despite the fact that Atticus had gotten at the truth through Mayela’s testimony, still the white people wanted the conviction of Tom. It didn’t matter that Tom was a nice, honest, working man, and Bob was a drunk and spent all of his money on alcohol, leaving his children with little food to eat, the white people were so loathing of blacks that evidence and character didn’t matter, at least that’s what Lee wanted her readers to think. 

Tom also had a supremacist all-white jury during his trial, which was not as widespread an occurrence as we’re led to believe. At the end of the case, the Ewells had not presented one shred of evidence against Tom, while Atticus had given plenty, again, reinforcing the picture that Southern society was brimming with injustice against blacks.

Therefore, “To Kill a Mockingbird Yankee” is anti-Southern propaganda. Because most of the whites were racist, Atticus was shunned for defending Tom, and the people trusted the Ewells case more than Atticus’, this popular and enduring work is a truly biased book.

A Common Misconception

Icon of Saint Polycarp.

Dear Mr. Fish, 

In both your 5th and 6th grade history class, you address, multiple times, the pre-schism Western Christian Church as “Catholic” when in fact there was no Catholicism until 1054 when the Great Schism occurred. 

Before 1054, both the Eastern and Western Churches were one. There were many reasons for the split occurring but one of the major causes was the West declaring the Pope as the Supreme Head of the Church while the East only recognizing him as “The First Among Equals.” The Pope had been recognized as the “First Among Equals” for over a millennia when the Latins decided to separate from the East by excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople. 

Leading up to the schism, the Roman Church had been slowly revising original Christian practices by changing some of their theological beliefs, like the adding of the Filioque, painting their icons to look more realistic, and changing the architecture of their churches and cathedrals, while the Eastern Church’s dogma, icons, and architectural designs didn’t, and still haven’t, changed from the way it was 2,000 years ago. 

In lesson 130 of grade 5 history, you address St. Polycarp as “bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna” and “shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world,” when in reality Polycarp, although sainted in today’s Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, was not a Catholic Bishop. Smyrna wasn’t even under the jurisdiction of the Pope, as it was a Greek city on the coast of Turkey. St. Polycarp was, by all means, an Orthodox Bishop. 

In lesson 131, you say “Arianism,  the reigning ‘orthodoxy’ of the day, was in fact heresy.” While Arianism was a heresy that affected the Western and Eastern churches, it might be misleading to call it the “‘orthodoxy’ of the day.” Although your use of orthodoxy here is correct, your improper use of Catholicism could lead students to equate Eastern Orthodoxy with the heresy. Many Eastern bishops opposed the heresy and condemned Arius and his followers at the Council of Nicaea.

Lastly, modern Orthodoxy is not just Greek but is the prominent, and even sometimes official religion in many European countries including Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Belarus and Georgia. It’s also the main form of Christianity in Syria, Israel, Iraq, and Egypt. In addition to these countries, Orthodoxy is growing in parts of the United States.

Although a common misconception, the pre-schism Western Christian Church was not Catholic, but Orthodox, united with the Eastern Church.

Greek Geniuses and Government

The Greek Poet Homer.

To this day Ancient Greece has immense influence. It had many brilliant scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and poets, like Homer. 

Homer was a Greek poet and writer. He created epic poems, which are poems in the form of a story and are often about myths and legends. Homer’s first composition “The Iliad” recounts the history of the Trojan War. This struggle lasted from 1260-1180 B.C. and started when Menelaus’s wife Helen was stolen by Paris, king of Troy.

Homer’s second epic poem “The Odyssey” was about the adventures of Odysseus, who was the king of Greek town. This tale is about Odysseus trying to make it back home to his family after the brutal and bloody Trojan War.

Another great epic poem is “The Aeneid.” Written by the Greek poet Virgil, the fictional narrative is about the founding of Rome by a Trojan prince named Aeneas, who tried to found a new Trojan empire with his father in what is today modern-day Italy. Because it teaches us about what may have been the roots of Roman civilization, this story is important to study.

Greek Government consisted of 4 types: Anarchy, Oligarchy, Monarchy, and Democracy. 

In Anarchy, there are no laws, while Oligarchy is a small group of people controlling the government. The kings of Greek Monarchy were called Tyrants. Today we think of “Tyrant” as being an oppressive ruler or king, but it used to mean simply being king.

Notably, Democracy came to power in the city-state of Athens. Democracy comes from the Greek words “Demos” and “Kratos” which together mean “Rule by the People.” In a Democracy, the council acted like a judge and would swiftly decide someone’s fate if he committed a crime. If a council member didn’t serve the people well, then he would get punished, like banishment for 10 years.

Durable. Creative. Inventive. Greece is still one of the most significant civilizations ever. Countries around the world still use the same governments and study the awesome works of the Greek geniuses.