Sixty years after Harper Lee wrote To Kill A Mockingbird, its chilling story of an African American man caught up in a broken system remains as relevant as ever. Lee framed the devastating effects of racism in a way reality rarely can because the reader is clear on who did what and why; we are free to assign the roles of hero and villain with some degree of certainty. Only now, with the advent of body cams and shaky cell phone footage, is the real world finally allowing us this more complete narrative of incidents once framed solely by those “in charge.”
As a white man raised in a middle class home, I have a limited vocabulary to comment on issues of race. I’m painfully aware that my comments on racial issues are like having someone who’s never tried to swim explain the process of drowning. I can only relate my understanding in terms of my very narrow experience.