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European Dehumanization of Indians and Africans Essay

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2020

Abstract

The present paper dwells upon Europeans expansion and exploitation of Indians and Africans. Europeans saw these races as savage and incapable of being civilized. These ideas made Europeans think their inhumane exploitation of Indians and Africans could be justified.

Introduction

British imperial policies were based on such concepts as civilization, religion, expansion. Great Britain reshaped life in North America completely. British people forced out Native people from their lands and brought Africans to ‘help’ them create the ‘brave new world’. To expand and developed, British people chose the tactic of dehumanization which proved to be very effective as Indians and Africans were some kinds of tools in Europeans’ hands.

Indians

It is possible to find reasons why colonists dehumanized Indians. Colonists tried to justify their inhumane and unjust attitude towards Indians. Colonists claimed that Indians were savages and their race was declining due to their savagery. Colonists pretended to civilize the ‘savages’ to ‘help’ them survive in the new world. Thus, one of the founding fathers, President Jefferson, noted that Indians had to assimilate to survive. Jefferson stressed that civilization was what made Europeans stronger, and savagery was what made Indians almost extinct, “When the white people first came to this land, they were few, and you were many; now you are few” (as cited in Takaki, 1993, p.47).

Of course, no one mentioned that Europeans brought diseases that led to the deaths of hundreds and thousands of Native people, Europeans hunted to trade and used the land to satisfy the needs of the newcomers and the needs of the old world. No one mentioned that Europeans exhausted resources, which led to the extinction of many tribes. Of course, Indians tried to resist they made war and they attacked Europeans (Takaki, 1993). They also tried to fight with the help of European weapons, i.e. civilization. They addressed leaders of the new country in numerous letters, though the letters had no effect as Europeans did not want to take into account the needs of savages, as they were too concerned with their own needs.

Africans

Likewise, Europeans exploited Africans and justified the exploitation with the help of the ‘checked’ way. Takaki (1993) notes that Shakespeare revealed Europeans’ attitude towards Africans in his play Twelfth Night. Europeans regarded Caliban as a savage who should be either civilized or destroyed. However, according to Shakespeare, it was impossible to civilize Caliban as he was almost an animal. This was an appropriate justification for Europeans to start the exploitation of Africans who were regarded as mules who worked to satisfy people’s needs. Takaki (1993, p. 69) provide Jefferson’s ways and attitudes toward Africans. Obviously, the President treated Africans as labor force rather than human beings.

This could not be tolerated for a long time. Africans ran away, killed their masters and started numerous riots. These were their first tools to struggle against Europeans. Those tools were not effective as Europeans always stopped the revolts and punished Africans severely. Thus, Takaki (1993, p. 75) provides an example of such a revolt which resulted in the execution of “twenty-five blacks”. It took many decades for Africans to acquire at least some basic rights.

Conclusion

On balance, it is possible to note that Europeans saw Indians and Africans as certain tools that could help them build the new civilized world. Civilization was a certain justification of a variety of unjust and horrible deeds that led to slavery, many deaths and even extinction of Indian tribes. Though Indians and Africans tried to resist, Europeans managed to build the world which fitted them and their ideas of civilization.

Reference List

Takaki, R. (1993). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

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1. IvyPanda. "European Dehumanization of Indians and Africans." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/european-dehumanization-of-indians-and-africans/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "European Dehumanization of Indians and Africans." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/european-dehumanization-of-indians-and-africans/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'European Dehumanization of Indians and Africans'. 17 July.

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