Tonight, we went to see To Kill a Mocking Bird on Broadway. I’m embarrassed to say that even though I obviously went to school in this country that I never read this book in any of my classes. It’s not as though we didn’t read about race, though. If anything, we read books with far more blunt titles like Black Boy by Richard Wright, and others with themes of racism like William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. But regardless of that, I always knew the story line of Harper Lee’s classic book.
The basic story line is that a young “white trash” girl named Mayella Ewell accuses a black man of raping her (she’s also fully brainwashed, abused, and molested by her Ku Klux Klan member father, but hey, that’s besides the point), and thus, this young black man is standing trial. The jury is made up of all white, rural farmers. You can guess what the verdict is going to be regardless of any “evidence” that is brought up during the trial. But the most striking part of the entire play to me is when the girl suddenly breaks her silence and inability to speak by rambling on and on, in a style similar to her father’s, about how she feels like she’s trapped “in a prison” with these “animals” (she’s referring to black people) roaming around, taking white people’s land that “don’t belong to them. How could she possibly continue living like this? How could any white person?
I felt completely nauseated after her monologue of shrieking and wailing was done. And I realized I felt that way because that her awful, hateful, racist monologue was pretty much what most Trump supporters and Fox News are saying today, just that that specific monologue was set during the early 1930s, whereas the hateful speech we hear today against black, brown, Muslim, or any person of color… it’s toned down and made slightly more nuanced and subtle by members of the Republican Congress, Republicans, and Trump Supporters who want to “take our country back” and “make America great again!”
If anyone in tonight’s audience could not see these sentiments of Mayella Ewell echoed in the news today, in the hate crimes that are on the rise today, in the insipid and hate-driven speeches by Trump, his supporters, and the majority of the ball-less Republican Party, then they had to have been absolutely deaf.