Quote: Scout,” said Atticus, “nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything—like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.”
“You aren’t really a nigger-lover, then, are you?”
“I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody… I’m hard put, sometimes—baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.” (Page 59).
The term “Nigger lover” is thrown around a lot of times in the novel. Scout has heard the term being used to describe her dad. Atticus teaches Scout that being a “nigger lover” isn’t necessarily a terrible term. Atticus shows that Maycomb is full of ignorant people who label each other. Atticus does not care that someone is a Negro. However, he does care about doing his job right and that is to protect Tom Robinson. The people in Maycomb does not want Atticus to save Tom Robinson because then, the black people will not be classified as second-class citizens. The people do not want the world to change, they like the way things are now.
This quote shows the theme of racism and prejudice. They use the term nigger-lover to describe the people who are on the black people side. In reality all humans are equal and we should not describe one another by their beliefs or race.