The White Man's Burden by Rudyard Kipling

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How does Kipling describe indigenous people in "The White Man's Burden?"

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Rudyard Kipling was an avowed fan of imperialism, and “The White Man’s Burden” is his ode to the practice of stronger nations conquering less advanced territories and people groups. The poem describes the prospective “captives” (indigenous peoples) as “Half-devil and half-child” in an attempt to dehumanize them, making it seem less immoral to conquer them. They are sad and without any direction or good sense (“Fluttered folk and wild”). This makes it more appealing to imperialize their territory and control their behavior.

Kipling plays on the western world's unfamiliarity and fear of foreign societies (“to veil the threat of terror”) to further justify these proposals. He warns that these conquered people that they are “helping” (“to work another’s gain”) are unlikely to be thankful, referencing “the blame of those ye better, the hate of those ye guard.” The reference to the “Egyptian Night” is yet another reference to the foolishness and...

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