White Man's Burden World History

Topics: United States, United Kingdom, Culture Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: January 25, 2006
The White Man's Burden, by Rudyard Kipling, suggested that Americans should encourage the cultural development of, people from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds until they can take their place in the world by fully adopting Western ways. This phrase expressed imperialism through a subliminal message. By culturing other people, the main process was by conquering their land and in effect expands America's own land.

The White Man's Burden is a poem by the British poet Rudyard Kipling. It was originally published in the popular magazine McClure's, with the subtitle The United States and the Philippine Islands. The White Man's Burden may be read as supporting the U.S. colonization of the Philippines and other former Spanish colonies in his poem or, alternatively, as a warning to the United States of the cost of imperial adventure. Although Kipling's poem mixed exhortation to empire with sober warnings of the costs involved, imperialists within the United States latched onto the phrase "white man's burden" as a euphemism for imperialism that seemed to justify the policy as a noble enterprise. A third set of explanations focuses on ideological or moral motives. According to this perspective, political, cultural, or religious beliefs force states into imperialism as a "missionary activity." Britain's colonial empire was motivated at least in part by the idea that it was the "white man's burden" to civilize "backward" peoples.

The term can be interpreted as simply as racist, but it can also be taken as a metephor for a condescending view of non western national culture and economic traditions, identified as a sense of European ascendancy which has been called "cultural imperialism". A parallel can also be drawn with the the philanthropic view, common in Kipling's formative years, that the rich have a moral duty and obligation to help the poor "better" themselves whether the poor want the help or not.

One of criticisms of the 2005 Make Poverty History...
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