Rudyard Kipling is described as an imperial racist by the BBC which can prove that contention by quoting to us Kipling’s poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’.
This poem supposedly encourages Imperial conquest and obliges White people to go forth and civilize the more brutish and barbaric parts of the world….or you could interpret it as…if you are going to invade and turn a part of the world into a bit of your empire then it is your duty to serve the native population well….a subtle but entirely different take on the poem.
‘Imperialist racism’ is a very simplistic and prejudiced view of the poem if you read its sentiments as Kipling probably intended them to be read.
However it is ironic that the BBC should denounce Kipling for jingoistic imperialism and his apparent call to ‘Whites’ to do their duty and civilise the world as surely the BBC Charter itself proclaims the same values The BBC World Service and its Media Action arm are the poem in motion subversively encouraging democracy, freedom of thought and expression, environmentalism, as well as ‘good governance’ and people power, through development of a sophisticated media and use of campaign groups…in other worlds bringing ‘civilisation’ to the barbarous, unruly nations of the world….and of course that obligation for the BBC extends to the wilder parts of the UK where unreconstructed Tories, UKIPPers, members of the EDL, any member of the white working class, Islamophobes, Euro and climate sceptics lurk…all in need of re-education courtesy of the white liberal class ensconced at the BBC.
The Royal Charter guarantees the editorial independence of the BBC and sets out its Public Purposes. These are defined as:
- sustaining citizenship and civil society
- promoting education and learning
- stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
- representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities
- bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
When we hear people denouncing the West for not heading out to Africa and curing Ebola, or not tackling ISIS or not sorting out the Middle East are those people then racists? Surely they would be if judged on the same basis that Kipling is….and Kipling was a man of his times…what excuse do these paragons, these latter day saints, of the modern Liberal society have for their advocacy of the imperialist supremacy of the Western nations?
Melvyn Bragg & Co had a look at Kipling and it was interesting how they all took it for granted that Kipling was racist and an imperial propagandist…Bragg describing him as ‘a major apologist for the British empire’.
Well first, why should anyone need to apologise for the British Empire? That’s a very prejudiced view taken by a very select group of people and Bragg seems to be guilty of being trapped in group think rather than thinking for himself. Kipling wasn’t an apologist for Empire, he just lived through it and wrote about it as it happened….and he was critical of it much of the time…indeed ‘White Man’s Burden‘ is a call to treat the native populations well…which obviously leads to the idea that he believed they might not always be so treated.
We are told Kipling’s poems and stories have a stigma attached to them by virtue of Kipling being a supporter of the British Empire…and his poems and stories are ‘contaminated by his politics‘.
Kipling’s politics, his race theories were ‘unendurably horrible‘.
But….we are told…if we can look beyong his ‘unendurably horrible racism’ and his apologia for Imperialism then we can see the merits of his writing, in a technical sense. How very good of them to so condescend.
I have the sneaking suspicion that none of them on the show have a clue what they are talking about. They weren’t there with Kipling, they haven’t experienced ‘Empire’ as he experienced it, they haven’t moved amongst the natives, or amongst the maharajahs or the colonial officials.
They are imposing their own views of what they think the Raj was and how people such as Kipling ‘must’ have really felt about it…and doing so from the comfort of their ivory towers in academia and the media far from India and so very far from the times that Kipling wrote about.
Kipling’s ‘racism’ or imperialism are purely the concerns of a very select group of people who make it their job to search through history to denounce anything or anyone they feel has offended the censorious Liberal morality.
So, kids, you can read Kipling and enjoy the stories, but as you read bare in mind that they are an anachronistic relic from a bygone age in which attitudes of casual racism, racial supremacy, colonisation, violence, misogyny, apartheid, homophobia and religious mania held sway. Use the occasion to learn about the terrifying, and unendurably horrible, attitudes held by white people towards others merely because they do not have the same skin colour.
The Koran, by way of contrast, is a wonderful book, the cornerstone of a faith that brings peace and harmony wherever it is practised. The BBC highly recommends you read it, grow a beard and learn how to shoot a gun…er…only to defend yourself against those appalling Kipling-like Islamophobes who, through ignorance, prejudice and hatred, link that lovely religion to untold misery and violence.