Imperialism and Imagining the Racial Term Paper

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e. industrialized (Greenberger, 2004)

The appearance of uncivilized territories convinced many expansionists they had a God-given mission to take new territory and to spread Christianity and the benefits of European culture. The colonial powers did provide some benefits, one might say, as a result of this assumption. The powers "built new communications and transportation systems, established universities, and introduced modern medical practices." By making the colonized look, dress, behave, and hopefully believe like Europeans, these racial 'others' could be civilized, with proper aid from the Mother country. However, because 'the other' could never be perfectly like 'us,' that is like the face of the colonizer, "many nations took advantage of their colonies by exporting natural resources without providing economic return for most of the people. Many colonial administrations were insensitive to local customs and destroyed old ways of life." (Greenberger, 2004) "Every claim to cultural dominance on behalf of the colonizer was also an assertion of cultural lack of the colonized, in the "justifying discourse" of colonialism. (Strongman, 1996)

Many examples of this justifying discourse can be found Punch, a popular magazine that generated support for the colonies in England, in the heart of the common "John Bull Englishman." "One cartoon from September 3, 1853 was entitled 'The Great Barbarian Dragon.'" it showed free trade and capitalism as a moral force against Chinese economic and cultural insularity, giving a lesson to "John Chinaman.
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Punch's tendency to personify other nations, from the "unspeakable" infidel Muslim "Turk" to the easy-living Jamaican, created stereotypes that alas, exist in even the American cultural discourse to this day. (Peers, 2001)

The intellectual legacy of imperialism thus lives on, and even as the nations that were its victims have attempted to define themselves in the world as autonomous, they must still come to grips with the economic and political legacy of imperialism, and also the affliction of racial othering that impacted not simply the West, but also has profound psychological resonance in the minds of those characterized as inferior. Imperialism's estrangement of the colonial nations from their traditional modes of life have forced the colonized to measure themselves up against Western economies, and they often fall short in the process. Traditional tribal affiliations were redrawn as the result of imperialism, stimulating old conflicts between victimized peoples. The 'othering' of the colonial victims ultimately created a differentiation that was only of profit to those drawing the political and economic barriers and lines.

Works Cited

Greenberger, Allen J. "Imperialism." World Book Online Reference Center. 2004. World Book, Inc. 16 Nov. 2004. http://www.aolsvc.worldbook.aol.com/wb/Article?id=ar273460.

Strongman, Luke. "Post-Colonialism or Post-Imperialism?"

Deep South v.2 n.3 (Spring, 1996)

Peers. "Historical Studies 205-L02/Dr. Peers - Lecture Notes - April 12, 2001 "Empire, Visual Representation, and Punch Magazine 1853-1899." 2004. 16 Nov. 2004. http://hist.ucalgary.ca/courses/W2001/205L02LN6.htm.....

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