Imperialism, Colonization And Racism Essay

1309 words - 5 pages

In the late 1800s many countries in Europe adopted the idea of Imperialism and sought to exploit outside resources to gain power. Places such as pre-colonial Africa and India, rich in cheap raw materials and other natural products, made them prime targets for countries seeking to increase their imperial power. These countries soon became the site of the “civilizing mission”, a movement similar to that of the conquests in Mesoamerica. It was Europe’s goal to colonize and develop Africa in a way that it was beneficial to their Empires. Colonization “forced peoples of different societies to deal with one another on a regular and systematic basis” which led to conflicts among people brought together artificially into multicultural societies” (Bently). This integration generated new identities for the Indigenous and Europeans alike destroying their cultures and self-worth. This new formation of identity developed into racism, and ultimately ended in the destruction of the Europeans “humanity” in the name of greed and power.
The formation of the European identity was important in subjugating the indigenous people. In the same way that the Europeans wanted to create cultural ideologies for the indigenous they had to create a new identity for themselves. In creating the “other”, which was the people to be colonized, the European had to recreate his own identity in direct opposition to that of the colonizer, one that is greater and more human. Steve Biko first mentions this concept in I Write What I Like. In this passage Biko attempts to explain the philosophy behind the Europeans hostile actions. He writes, “…the great plan is to keep the black people thoroughly intimidated and to perpetuate the “super race” image of the white man, ,.. In terms of force” (Biko). This perpetuation of an image by force is the Europeans own attempt at creating a new identity for themselves and the use of force is simply because they have the power to. Frantz Fanon notices this deception in his letter Black Skin, White Masks. “It is a question of a victim of a sstem based on the exploitation of a given race by another, on the contempt in which a given branch of humanity is held by a form of civilization that pretends to be superiority” (Fanon). This idea creates one of the big issues regarding race. Fanon says Europeans systematically victimize other races to uphold their superiority even though they already hold more power and control.
The reason of colonization becomes the next question. We start to arrive at the answer in George Orwell’s Shooting An Elephant. In this instant George Orwell is a European holding a rifle at a stand-still with a violent elephant, he is there to keep the peace. He says it was expected for him to kill (the elephant), and that he ultimately had no control over this fact. Here Orwell describes the situation from his point of view, “… as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white...

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