To Kill a Mockingbird

What is Lee trying to convey to the reader in the following excerpt: “all the little many on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbor was, that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white.” (173)?

Chapter 17, To Kill a Mockingbird

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Bob Ewell's only validation in his eyes and the white jury is that he is white. Bob has no accomplishments. The whole town knows that he is a drunken sod who abuses his children. The only thing Bob can cling to is the ingrained bigotry of most white people in the town.