Origin Of Racism, Analysis Of Racial Discrimination In European Colonial Period

Essay by ray83911University, Bachelor's April 2009

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The continent of African has been affected by colonization in many ways. During the 19th century, Africa underwent a radical transformation; it was colonized by Europe. It was a violent and tragic turning point in African history. The culture of an entire continent was disrupted and in many instances destroyed. There were many motivations for colonization in the 19th century. Europeans were in search of new goods, trade routes, money, and power, which they sought at the expense of native populations. More than three decades after the majority of the African nations declared their independence, there remains, still, no consensus on the legacy of colonialism. With most of Africa still struggling to stand on its own, the battle of debate continues as to what exactly the effects of colonialism were on Africa. Colonialism had torn apart formerly neighborly kingdoms, yet it had also created relationships betweens colonizers and colonies which had not previously existed.

Africa was introduced to a capitalist market society, which exploited Africa's resources for European countries' profit. Ironically, the fundamental idea of colonialism was to civilize the native population. In fact it turned out to be a myth. The system was pushed by Europe's economic and political self-interests to meet their economic and administrative needs. Positive contributions were nowhere to be found to any large extent. Also, as Cesaire says, colonization has "dehumanized even the most civilized man" (Cesaire 41) during the process of colonization and more importantly, the process became the fundamental origin of the concept of "Race" based on physical differences, which remain as a one of the most problematic and controversial concept.

According to Cesaire, in Discourse on Colonialism, the process of dehumanization takes place on both colonizer and colonized. For the colonizer they tend to transform themselves into an animal by...