The White Man’s Burden

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In the “White Man’s Burden”, Rudyard Kipling claims that it is the duty or burden of the white men to civilize the non-whites, to educate them and to religiously lift them (lecture notes, 2/8). Kipling is specifically talking about the colonized non-whites (lecture notes, 2/8). The idea that the newly colonized non-whites were lacking and needing help from a greater society was common among American whites at this time (lecture notes, 2/8). Rudyard uses the whites’ public feelings towards the issue and writes “The White Man’s Burden” in an attempt to move the whites to help the non-whites because he thinks it is a very beneficial movement for the U.S.Rudyard meant this poem to be a shocking and informative form of encouragement for the whites to take up the burden of saving the non-white civilizations that they have now signed up for responsibility over. In “The White Man’s Burden”, Rudyard claims that the whites are bound to help the non-whites out of religious duty and for the whites’ own good (Rudyard). In the last stanza, Rudyard also explains that the non-whites have been through a lot do to the whites’ imperialism (Rudyard). Although he explains the non-whites’ grievances, Rudyard does not really seem to be that sympathetic for the non-whites but instead, he seems to think very little of them and pretty much says they are incapable of taking care of themselves.At the time that Rudyard published “The White Man’s Burden”, whites were already conflicted on what to do about the non-whites (US, 437). Some whites claimed that there should be little to no intervention of the whites on the non-white societies because Charles Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest” is the way that things should be (US, 437). The whites who were for intervention argued that it was the humane and religious duty of whites to become involved (US, 437). They also exclaimed that it was better to help the non-white develop because of the need for trade (US, 437). Because there had already been such a debate between the whites over this issue, Rudyard’s poem gained attention quick (lecture notes, 2/8). Rudyard’s work gained attention of American leaders and became an inspiration for future actions of imperialism (lecture notes, 2/8).Rudyard’s poem seemed to have gained a lot of popularity because of his tone of nationalism. In the poem, he basically says that in order to be respected as one of the greater nations, America has to do some charity work and help some of the less fortunate (Rudyard).

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