Colonialism And Racism In The 19th Century History Essay

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, European powers used their fiscal wealth and technological promotions to colonise much of Asia and about the full continent of Africa. Oftentimes the motives were national pride and the acquisition of natural resources, but at that place was another really powerful drift behind Western imperialism in the nineteenth century: racism. At a clip when Charles Darwin had merely late revealed his theory of development, and much of the antecedently unchartered district of the universe was going known, the European powers felt themselves to be the superior race, because they believed they were the most civilised, or because they had the most advanced engineering. This thought, known as societal Darwinism, takes the natural theory of development and applies it to human races, situating that the societies and races that are “ superior ” than others are more “ fit ” to be and last, and hence they make take advantage of and work the other, inferior peoples who are non as “ fit ” to last. With this thought in head, many Western powers sent military personnels and resources around to globe to put up settlements and imperialize other states, frequently with no respect for the autochthonal people. Although this monolithic moving ridge of colonialism in the nineteenth century was driven by desire for stuff wealth and national pride, racism besides played a important function.

In George Orwell ‘s Burmese Days, he chronicles the day-to-day life of a British gentleman ‘s nine in upcountry Burma, portion of the British settlement of India. His history gives a really revealing indicant of how the British citizens viewed the local citizens of Burma, and it reveals the racism that was at the bosom of the imperial system. When the nine is discoursing the suggestion to let a Burmese adult male to fall in, the Secretary of the nine says, “ He ‘s inquiring us to interrupt all our regulations and take a beloved small nigger-boy into this Clubaˆ¦That would be a dainty would n’t it? Small pot-bellied niggas take a breathing Allium sativum in your face over the bridge-table. Jesus, to believe of it! ” ( Reilly, 285 ) . The usage of a derogative racial slur clearly demonstrates the manner the British gentlemen thought of the locals, clearly as inferior people. The usage of the term “ nigga ” has long been associated with people of African descent, but here the British Club secretary uses it to mention to the local Burmese citizens, an obvious indicant of racial hatred and abuse. Their hatred and racism go so far that one member of the nine, a local company director, says “ I ‘ll decease in a ditch before I ‘ll see a nigga in here ” ( Reilly, 286 ) . The uninterrupted usage of racial slurs and dissing comments indicate that the British members of the nine were all extremely racist towards the local people, a factor which decidedly influenced the British colonisation of India, and the intervention of the autochthonal peoples.

In a similar portraiture of life inside an imperialized state, Joseph Conrad ‘s Heart of Darkness takes a close expression at a steamboat journey deep into the bosom of the Congo, the captain of which was a white adult male. The first marks of racism come out when he refers to the African people on his boat as “ man-eaters ” , connoting that they were barbarian and barbarian, although there is no other grounds that these people were in fact man-eaters. These basic false premises are frequently seen in narratives of imperial racism ; White settlers are ever promptly to judge the local people as barbarous barbarians without really taking the clip to understand their civilization. However, the ship captain ‘s racism goes far deeper than that, when he remarks “ the work forces wereaˆ¦No they were no inhuman. Well, you know that was the worst of it-this intuition of their non being cold. It would come easy to one. They howled and leaped and spun and made horrid faces, but what thrilled you was merely the idea of their humanity-like yours ” ( Reilly, 296 ) . His hurting at recognizing that he was connected to these people, through a common humanity, hurts him because they appear so wild and barbarian to him that he would prefer to believe they were non human, but instead animate beings or animals. His European heritage makes him see himself as superior than the local Africans, and in bend he sees them through racialist eyes, another of import factor in the Western colonisation of Africa. Both these extracts of colonial life in the nineteenth century demonstrate that the Westerners about ever considered themselves superior to the local citizens. The European powers had convinced themselves that because they had the power and resources to make planetary imperiums, they were someway inherently better than the people they were suppressing, and this all excessively frequently lead to the development and debasement of autochthonal peoples around the Earth.

Another illustration of the struggle between two civilizations is shown in the instance of Ida Pruitt, in the book China ‘s American Daughter by Marjorie King. Turning up in an American household working as missionaries in a little town in China, Ida experiences both the local Chinese civilization around her and the American ways of her Christian missional female parent, who resents many things about China. As her female parent invariably tried to change over Chinese people into Christians, Ida witnessed the harmful effects of such colonial interactions. King writes that “ As Ida became cognizant of the differences between the Chinese and the Christian missional civilizations, she resented Christianity ‘s invasion in the Chinese civilization ” ( King, 17 ) . Even as a immature miss, Ida is able to understand that the Western forces ( her female parent ) are trying to infix their ain ways of life, faith, and civilization into the Chinese civilization because she regards them as inferior. The spiritual constituent of this is particularly powerful, as many signifiers of Christianity believe that it is their duty and responsibility to distribute their faith and convert as many people as possible, irrespective of altering their old manner of life and destructing the original civilization. The focal point for the Westerners in colonial China was on taking advantage of the local people in order to change over them and infix western civilization as a replacing for their ain. Ida recognizes this, and “ Ida admired her male parent ‘s version to Chinese ways in order to assist construct echt friendly relationships between the Chinese and Westerners ” ( King, 19 ) . Her male parent acts as a theoretical account for a better, more common exchange of civilization and thoughts between the Chinese and the Westerners, which is an equal interaction between the two, non the domination of one over the other as Ida ‘s Christian female parent efforts to incite.

Ida Pruitt ‘s experience as an American in colonial China greatly differ from those of the Westerners in both Heart of Darkness and Burmese Days, as she really identifies more closely with Chinese civilization than she does with her original cultural civilization. Alternatively of nearing the local citizens as being inherently inferior or below her, Ida embraces their traditions and civilization, and in many ways finds the Chinese manner of life better than the American 1 that her female parent works so difficult to promote. Particularly because she lived in China at such a immature age, “ Turning up in the halls and courtyards of the haunted house of Song Family Village, Ida felt herself to be portion of Chinese life stretching back 1000s of old ages ” ( King, 6 ) . As opposed to the British nine officer who uses racial slurs to diss the Burmese people, or the steamboat captain who observes the “ wild ” and “ cold ” people of the Congo, Ida grows up surrounded by the Chinese civilization, and she is able to compare and contrast it with the Western tradition promoted by her female parent. The racialist characters in the other histories experient life as a Westerner, and hence ne’er were able to appreciate or esteem any other civilization. This obstinate compulsion with one ‘s ain civilization resulted in their imperial racism towards the local peoples. With Ida, she was able to organize her ain cultural and racial individuality while sing both Western and Chinese life styles, and this allowed her to truly esteem and understand both, and in making so she was able to stay affiliated to both civilizations without holding to racially reject or degrade one or the other.

Racism is unluckily an built-in portion of human society, and it can be particularly lay waste toing when it is used to steer political and military determinations, such as during the colonisation of Africa and Asia in the nineteenth century. Many people were killed, exploited, or left in poorness entirely because of the racial hatred of others. The European imperialism of the universe, although based on many motives, was in portion based on racism, as demonstrated in the extracts from Joseph Conrad and George Orwell. However, non all interactions between civilizations were negative, such as the instance of Ida Pruitt in China. She was able to disregard her female parent ‘s blind prejudice and learn to value and appreciate Chinese civilization, something that indicates the importance of being unfastened minded and sing other civilizations for oneself before judging. Possibly if the British officers did n’t believe so lowly of the locals, they would hold provided better things such as schools and libraries, which in bend would ensue in a better educated state and an improved society. If the steamboat captain had n’t viewed the Africans as barbarians, possibly he would n’t hold been so focused on the stuff wealth and fiscal addition that was possible in Africa, but in puting up stable authoritiess and making better substructure for all people. Although things did n’t turn out this manner, we can larn from this past and use that cognition to make a better hereafter. Ida Pruitt is a great illustration for get the better ofing racism, by sing a different civilization for oneself and knocking your ain heritage, instead than pig-headedly purporting your manner as the best and lone manner, and detesting all other civilizations and societies that are different. Always racism may ne’er travel off, we can do a difference by understanding the past and larning to appreciate the value of all human societies and races.