Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Why did the Wallace family treat people the way they did?

In chapter 9

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Well, they treated blacks like garbage. I'm not sure how they treated their white friends. The attack on Papa by the Wallaces is a symptom of the violent racism the Wallaces possess. Why do they do this? I suppose that is one of the themes of the book and a question for the ages. What makes people like the Wallaces so full of hate and malice is a complicated question.