“Just Ignore It” as Advice
This question is part of the GRAB(ook) Club, an online book club open to anyone and everyone.
Throughout the book, a piece of advice — “just ignore it” — is repeated in several different ways. On page 133, Atticus recommends that Jem tune out Mrs. Dubose when she attempts to upset him.
“Easy does it, son,” Atticus would say. “She’s an old lady and she’s ill. You just hold your head high and be a gentleman. What she says to you, it’s your job not to let her make you mad.”
Of course, we’re not just talking about the impolite, personal remarks. Atticus is telling his son to ignore the blatantly racist remarks too.
It is advice that is often repeated on the Internet: don’t feed the trolls, don’t react to negative comments, let other people’s baiting roll off your back. I know I’ve told the twins to ignore bullies in their class. Ignoring — in other words, not doing anything — seems to be an easy solution that is offered for a variety of situations.
Yet we also see the effects of a town that has ignored its racism and turned a blind-eye to its bullying. Change rarely comes from people who ignore a situation.
Do you think “just ignore it” is ultimately more helpful or hurtful?
After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for To Kill a Mockingbird. You can get your own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee at bookstores including Amazon.