In "The White Man's Burden," how does Kipling view those being imperialized?

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  • Kipling views those being imperialized as inferior to the white men, and thus in need of the assistance and civilization of the white men.
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Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden" takes a view of colonial people that was not atypical among late nineteenth and early twentieth century imperialists. He views them as culturally, intellectually, and racially inferior, men who were "half-devil and half-child." These people, he claimed in the poem, were incapable of appreciating the "benefits" conferred upon them by imperialists, and would resist and hate them.  But Kipling also thought it the duty of allegedly superior European peoples (specifically the United States, in "The White Man's Burden") to bring what he regarded as superior civilization to peoples around the world, even if they didn't appreciate it. If they did so, other whites would respect them, for they had lived up to the challenges conferred upon them by being part of a superior civilization. Again, we should note that Kipling's views, while deeply offensive to modern readers, were accepted by many imperialists, who sought to justify their conquests according to this ideology. But they were widely rejected by anti-imperialists, who tended to view imperialism as cruel, anti-democratic or a waste of time, lives, and resources.

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