In "The White Man's Burden" how are imperialized people viewed by the writer?
The poem "The White Man's Burden" was written to encourage the United States to take up the task of annexation and "civilization" of the Philippines, newly won in the Spanish-American War. In the poem, Kipling's view of imperialized people is condescending and contemptuous. He describes them as "half-devil and half-child," and claims that their "sloth and heathen folly" will bring all efforts to "civilize" them to "nought." Indeed, Kipling suggests that the people of the Philippines, like all colonial peoples around the world, are racially and culturally inferior to Anglo-Saxons, and that they are too primitive to understand the benefits of civilization in the first place. The reason, Kipling claims, that imperial nations should take up the "white man's burden" is to win the "judgment of your peers." So "The White Man's Burden" is shot through with racist assumptions about the capabilities of nonwhites. The implication is that whites should struggle to "civilize" non-whites because of the ennobling nature of struggle itself, not really for the benefit of colonized peoples.