In Orwell's poignant short story "Shooting an Elephant," he describes the oppressive, corrupting nature of imperialism, which influences him to act against his conscience by shooting a tranquil elephant. In the short story, Orwell illustrates how imperialism not only dehumanizes and controls the native population but also the way that agents of imperialist regimes are forced to behave against their will in order to maintain a resolute, callous appearance, which reflects the oppressive imperialist regime.
When the British police officer is followed by a massive crowd while he is looking for an escaped elephant, he succumbs to the peer pressure and realizes that he must shoot the peaceful animal to impress the Natives and avoid being laughed at. Before the officer shoots the elephant, he experiences an epiphany, which emphasizes Orwell's negative feelings regarding imperialism. Orwell writes,
I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the “natives,” and so in every crisis he has got to do what the “natives” expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. 
Overall, Orwell feels that imperialist regimes not only oppress and dehumanize the native population but also suppress individuality by forcing its agents to behave and appear as resolute, callous authority figures at all times. Agents of imperialist regimes like the British police officer suppress their emotions and act against their conscience as they play their designated role.