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Hierarchical Racial Order of Culture & Civilization Practiced by the British Empire

Updated on January 20, 2019

Hierarchical Racial Order of Culture & Civilization Practiced by The British Empire

British considered people who had no religion or a religion other than Christianity as uncivilized and having no culture. And according to them these ‘uncivilized people’ fell below them in the hierarchical racial order of culture and civilization. So when the British decided to end slavery (for the first time - and it went on for a very brief period), it was through the introduction of Christianity to these slaves . Though soon after it was abolished, slavery returned and the Britishers blamed this on the ‘laziness of the negroes’. Which even in the today world we see racist people using as an excuse to treat people differently.

Also, in their strife to spread Christianity and their culture; to promote morals and correct modes of behavior in other people, Britishers destroyed cultures and eradicated religions from areas they colonized. Most of these cultures were saved 'on paper' by historians, anthropologists etc. but they were completely eradicated from the face of earth with barely a few of their individuals surviving, the Aboriginal tribe, of Australia is an example of the atrocities of the British.

The British also started applying science to their idea of inferiority and superiority, which led to scientific racism. They believed that people who were not as advanced as them had been left behind by history – e.g. the Tasmanians were considered by British as people with no culture who were savage and primitive; and in accordance with the idea of British Empire’s hierarchical racial order of culture and civilization could be treated as animals. This all started after Herbert Spencer decided it was wise to apply Darwin's idea of Natural Selection (the focus of whose work was birds); on human beings and so concept of 'survival of the fittest' (Spencer's terms)came into being. According to which if you are inferior as an individual or as a nation then you are bound to be sweeped off the earth.

The application of this, which was not the intention of Spencer, was eugenics programs and the rich denying poor people sustenance with the thought that these people are bound to die off soon and helping them just inhibits the society's progress.

Thomas Carlisle, an eminent writer and historian of the British Empire, believed that ‘those who know should rule those who do not know’. Thus knowledge/education was also seen as a factor which decided your place in the social hierarchy. And obviously white people were better educated than the brown or black ones hence leading to feelings of superiority in white people.

Also, British people have always been strong on characterizing people on the basis of their descent. And this was strengthened by the concept of scientific racism. They believed that breeding clever with clever would improve the intelligence of human kind and that inferior races were threatening the future by producing too many sub-standard children.

Thus, faulty mind sets have led to racism in the past resulting in huge atrocities (killing camps in Namibia, killing camps by Nazis, sterilization of individuals etc.) and they still are in effect, with Trump's actions being a living example.

© 2019 Heere Zed


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