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Dehumanization of Colonizers in the Colonial Period Research Papers

Dehumanizes even the most civilized man; that colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest, which is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt, inevitably tends to change him who undertakes it; that the colonizer, who in order to ease his conscience gets into the habit of seeing the other man as an animal, accustoms himself to treating him like an animal, and tends objectively to transform himself into an animal.

In other words, Cesaire argued that every colonizer underwent the same process of change that Mr. Kurtz experienced in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Kurtz noted in his report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs that Western technology meant European colonizers “must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings – we approach them with the might as of a deity” and as a result Kurtz and his fellow colonizers could through “the simple exercise of our will … exert a power for good virtually unbounded” (page 45, Dover edition). However, when Marlow finally reaches Kurtz’s station he finds the heads of ‘rebel’ African tribesmen impaled upon stakes around Kurtz’s compound as a warning to others of the dangers of defying Mr. Kurtz’s wishes (pages 52-54, Dover edition).

You should therefore write an essay in which you explain why you agree or disagree with Cesaire’s statement that the act of colonizing dehumanizes the colonizer. You should respond directly to the arguments he puts forward in his quotation above (taken from his Discourse on Colonialism), and provide multiple examples to support your answer. Note; this is not about the natives, the colonized, but the colonizer, those doing the colonizing.

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