Racism In Africa

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To what extent was ethnocentrism and racism the greatest motivation for western European nations embarking on an imperialistic conquest of the African continent between the late 1800’s and 1914?

“Power mixed with cunningness creates poison cocktail. While power with cleverness makes a perfect pilot whale.” (Stephen Thompson, Ph.D., n.d.). In the imperialistic conquest of Africa this quote proved accurate. The Western Europeans gain power over Africans, however the way they controlled their power, with inhumane, racist and selfish actions mean’t the colonies were bound to failure. In the conquest for colonies racism and ethnocentrism played a role in how the Europeans went about with their Imperialistic conquest, however it wasn’t the original
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This can be shown in two key examples, the first of which being the way that racism was used by authors to convince the European public that their actions are fair and natural and that it is what is mean’t to happen. An obvious example of the racist writing is “De La Colonisation Chez Les Peuples Modernes” by Paul Leroy-Beaulieu. In his book, he used phrases and words like “a great part of the world is inhabited by barbarian tribes or savages” “This state of the world implies for the civilized people a right of intervention” “neither natural nor just for the civilized people of the West”, etc. (Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, 1891). All of the quotes show the plain racism that Leroy-Beaulieu uses to try and normalise the Western Europeans actions and try and influence the public’s opinion. The second extreme example is the Congo Free State and the way King Leopold II ran it. King Leopold II of Belgium displayed extreme racism in his ruling of the Congo. He first put up a smoke screen to hide his true greedy, racist intentions by claiming that he wanted to educated the population. He cut off people hands, used whips, held woman hostages to bribe the men to work and created human zoos all in a racist fashion for his personal financial gain. In the 40 year period that Leopold was in power, 10 million Congolese people died. (Congo-The Brutal History, 2008) Although the Congo Free State is a very extreme case of racism, it provides a picture of what could and was happening in other parts of the imperialistic conquest. This shows that racism had a large part in the imperialistic movements, however even though it was unacceptable, racism wasn’t a motivation by itself, it provided a gateway to another motivation. In the case of King Leopold II, he wasn’t racist just for
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