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Racism in Heart of Darkness

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Jim Nixon

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of Racism in Heart of Darkness

Racism Heart of Darkness What is Racism? Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Is Heart of Darkness a Racist Novel? Some argue that the book depicts Europeans as superior to Africans. The novel seems to equate darkness with truth and whiteness with hollow, trickery and lies. The book can be called racist because it treats the natives like objects rather than as thinking people. Chenua Achebe's Essay Basic Ideas of the Essay
-Conrad dehumanizes Africans
-Conrad wants everyone in their place
-Conrad insults African language
-Conrad uses racial slurs in other works Do I Agree with the Essay?
-Yes, for the most part
-Heart of Darkness is clearly racist
-Achebe though stretches at points
-She was born in Nigeria and thus takes more offense with her bias Critics “In the novel, Heart of Darkness, the author Joseph Conrad makes some comments, and he uses different terms to describe people of color that may offend some people. Also the readers can see how racist the Europeans were toward blacks not only because they were turned into slaves. We can see how the European people seem to think the Africans are not equal to them. There are many examples of discrimination towards woman in this story. Women were looked down and they were considered to be worth less then men, or even not as important. Racism and discrimination are all over in this novel.” Joseph Conrad makes some remarks about blacks that are very disturbing and racist. One example of this is when he says, "…the thought of their humanity-like yours…Ugly" (Conrad). This just goes to show how Conrad was a complete racist. The thought of a black man’s humanity being compared to Conrad’s was just plain ugly to Conrad. That is plain and simple racism. Another example is the first time he saw a black man he said, "A certain enormous buck nigger encountered in Haiti fixed my conception of blind, furious, unreasoning rage, as manifested in the human animal to the end of my days. Of the nigger I used to dream for years afterwards" (Conrad). This remark Conrad made was disturbing and clearly racist because he described the black man as a "nigger" more then once. The Europeans were racist toward blacks. We can see how the European people seem to think the Africans are not equal to them because their black. For example Conrad says, "the thought of their humanity-like yours…Ugly" (Conrad). This just goes to show that when Conrad is compared to a black man he is discussed because he is racist. One reason we say the Europeans were racist was because they made the blacks be their slaves. The audience can see the people of color doing work for the white people and that just goes to show that they were racist.

Women are discriminated throughout this book. There is not place in this book in which a woman has a job of equality to a man. The audience can see that the men do not treat woman very well or with any respect throughout
Heart of Darkness. For example Kurtz had a mistress of some kind and she is described as a savage. "She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent…She stood looking at us without a stir and like the wilderness itself, with an air of brooding over an inscrutable purpose" (Conrad). The way this mistress was described as a savage is an example of how women are discriminated against in this book. In conclusion racism and discrimination played a huge part in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. We saw this through Conrad’s comments, and his different uses of terms to describe people of color. Also the readers can see how racist the Europeans were toward blacks. We can see how the European people seem to think the Africans are not equal to them. There are many examples of discrimination towards woman in this story. Women were looked down and they were considered to be worth less then men, or even not as important. There are many examples of racism and discrimination in Heart of Darkness. Racist Quotes "They passed me within six inches, without a glance, with that complete deathlike indifference of unhappy savages." "When nearing the buildings I met a white man, in such an unexpected elegance of get-up that in the first moment I took him for a sort of vision." "They had faces like grotesque masks" "to look at him was as edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat, walking on his hind legs" "The man seemed young - almost a boy - but you know with them it's hard to tell" THE
END
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