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Cultural Imperialism in Kipling's Works

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The White Men’s Burden was written by Rudyard Kipling. We can say that this is a fight song, a hymn and an encouraging song that he wrote for the white people, addressing the white people. This was the time when the white people were considered to be superior. The poem basically gives us an insight of what white men were thinking when they were sent over to Philippines.

Kipling believes that since they are superior rich and powerful therefore it is their duty to help those who are not doing well in their lives. Kipling is also saying that they should be patient and accept their responsibility to be the provider of food in order to end the famine and get rid of the sickness and diseases and bring them to light because according to Kipling the natives or the colonized were backward, in darkness and he thought that they, the whites, were doing a favor to them by colonizing. He also states that the white people would not get any appreciation and would face resistance and hate from the people but they should not stop from achieving their noble goal and should be patient as all this is for a greater good.

What I think about this poem is that it is an insult to the colored people and that it portrayed the “non-white” people to be inferior and dependant on the white people and without their help colored people would not be able to prosper. What is important is that the poem was written in a time when people of different race had no rights whatsoever and all the rights were given to the white people. We also have to keep in mind that this was period of colonialism and in this very period different empires struggled to expand and to spread their wings and so were the Americans.

So what Kipling actually did is that he smacked the cultural imperialism by portraying the natives (non-native people) to be brutes, barbaric and uncultured people. Kipling made the white have sympathy but at the same time he gave them a sense of pride and made them feel as if they were superior and had the right to rule over the people of color. According to me, all Kipling did is that he presented and defunded racism, imposition, imperialism and colonialism as something philanthropic.

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