Western Imperialism And Racism Essay, Research Paper
Western Imperialism and RacismIn the age of Imperialism, world powers constantly tried to expand theirboundaries. Much of the time they disregarded the native populations or createdstereotypes around them that suited their colonial needs. Imperialism brought about aclash of cultures. Colonial European and Japanese power expanded into Asia and Africa.The British, French, Dutch and Americans considered themselves conquerors with aneminent right to expansion with domain over the native cultures. Their belief that theywere above the people who lived in their colonial empires not only decreased mutualrespect but also gave rise to a racist style of thinking. First, this colonial movement wiped out mutual respect between the colonialpower and the previously sovereign state; the Europeans clung to it fiercely though. This was not simply a matter of domination, says John Barraclough, author of AnIntroduction to Contemporary History. Although it may have been nothing more than acrude, militaristic, undermining need for power that drove the Europeans to colonize,they saw it differently. Europeans saw their massive expansion at the close of thenineteenth century as the opening of a new era. They thought they were bringing agreater civilization to the backward, non-white, non-European world (Barraclough 65). They saw it as their duty. If non-Europeans could not promote trade, influencetheir economy and create a better (as the Europeans believed), more relevant lifestylethen the colonial powers would have to do it for them. It was useless to exportEuropean skills to backward countries without at the same time introducing Europeanauthorities to ensure their proper employment; since the native races were unable tomaintain civilized rule themselves, the government of dependencies by the imperialpowers was a necessity of the modern world (Barraclough 65). The Europeans sent out waves of emigrants to populate and control their newterritories. This mix of cultures and ideals should have brought about a greater respectand understanding. New ideas and horizons should have been opened and explored.Unfortunately this great opportunity was squandered. It is evident that the Europeanssaw themselves as superior. They took this belief to its full extent. Every facet of theirlife was deemed more suitable for civilization. They set out not to accept but to subdueand change. Imperialism, which should have brought the world closer together, onlywidened the gaps between its races and decreased their respect for one another. This cultural clash did everything to create and strengthen racist beliefs. Inorder to coerce a race or a nation they must be dehumanized. It is hard to kill someonewith a name, a face or children. It is impossible to look into the eyes of someone you seeas your brother and pull the trigger and end his life. Yet, if you thought of him as a dog you could do it. To see subservience in a raceall good things about their culture must be seen as minimal, if at all. A person with freewill can not be controlled. A person you believe never had it must be controlled. In thisway, racism was a vital part of Imperialism. The best example of this is unfortunately a dark chapter in our American history -Slavery. When European settlers first went to Africa they saw the native population thereas savage and primitive. They were just different, but the belief of superiority wasoverwhelming. The colonialists also saw them as easily controlled. So, in greatnumbers, black men, women, and children were brought to America to work as slaves. Racial stereotypes were prevalent to the continuation of the peculiar institution.
First, racism held that the Africans needed to be tamed. This ideal allowed for them tobe taken from their homes and contained. It was, in the racist s view, good for them. In the early 1800 s the need for the importation of slaves became unnecessary tobolster the number of workers for the fields. The slave trade was outlawed in 1808.America was evolving. The view of the slave needed to move with it. No longer did heneed to be tamed. Slavery had to be justified though. The slave now became a happyworker. His lifestyle changed within the eyes of the American public. He became like asmall child who needed to be nurtured. He was too dumb or too backward now to feed his family or run his own life. Henever had free will and he never would get it. According to the beliefs of the day, theslave owners were doing their slaves a favor by feeding, clothing and housing them.They were all content and they always would be (in-class film). The racist view changed with the countries need. The black culture becamewhatever was most convenient for the slaveholders to continue to control them. If heneeded the black man to be stupid; he was. That way he could keep him in the fields forthe slaves own good, of course. If the slaveholder needed the black man to be crafty andsneaky; he was. That way the slave could be whipped for his own good, of course. Finally, after the Civil War, the impression that all blacks were violent anddangerous to society became dominant. This was in an attempt to re-control theAfrican-American after his liberation. Some white Americans were so used to beingsuperior to the blacks, they could not conceive of a world otherwise. They felt thatprinciple slipping away from them. What better ways to regain it than with slander. They could regain their dominant position by maintaining the danger of the contrary. Zip Coon, Pickananies, Mammy, were all used to degrade and de-humanizeAfrican Americans (in class film). This sinister, ever-changing racism was brought aboutby this lack of respect founded in the doctrine of Imperialism.In no place can both racism and a lack of respect for different societies be betterunderstood than in the Pacific before and during World War II.. They shared the sameImperialistic view as the European powers. On August 1, 1940 a statement commentingon Japan s views on regional domination (The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere)was issued by Foreign Minister Matsuoka Yosuke. I have always said that the mission of Japan is to proclaim and demonstrate the kodo (Imperial Way) throughout the world. Viewed fromthe standpoint of international relations, this amounts…to enabling allnations and races to find its proper place in the world…(Dower 280-281). This proper place for Japan in Asia was at it s helm. The proper place for all otherOrientals within it s sphere of influence was one of subordination. This showed a greatlack of respect by Japan. This view worked in cooperation with racism. Japan s lake of tolerance for othercultures became apparent in a secret 1942-43 report. It stated that if Japan were to dealwith those who are inherently unequal as equals it would be Japan who suffers. Yet, Totreat those who are unequal unequally is to realize equality (Dower 264). Belittling anddehumanizing is another way Japan reinforced their feeling of superiority. Of course, Japan is not the only nation who sought to expand their boundaries byhate during World War II. The propaganda has been used by whites and non-whites forthousands of years. These tools though, the lack of respect for different cultures andracism through Imperialism weakened the world. It has caused nations to war and greatsuffering. It does nothing to bring peace and everything to cause destruction.