The term "white man's burden" refers to the difficulties of managing a colonial empire over nonwhite peoples. Kipling's poem was written to encourage the United States to "civilize" the Philippines by assuming control of the islands. Kipling's poem is operating under the assumption that outside of the western, Christian world, people are barbaric, not fit to rule themselves, and must be molded by white Westerners into becoming more like their colonizers. In the poem, Kipling presents the work of the colonizers as hard and thankless, composed of many difficulties.
Firstly, he claims that the colonizers must sacrifice the comfort of their own children to send them abroad:
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
He is claiming people will need to send the best of their young to educate uncivilized peoples. He paints the colonized as both childish and violent,...
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