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"The Brown Man's Burden" (Excerpt)

Much like Lulu Baxter Guy's "The Black Man's Burden," Henry Labouchère's "The Brown Man's Burden" shifts the emphasis of Kipling's notorious poem, offering a view of imperialism from the perspective of those who were most directly affected by the expansionist policies of nations like Britain and the United States. "The Brown Man's Burden" offers an indictment of imperial hypocrisy, with particular emphasis on the violence employed in subjugating countries like the Philippines in the name of freedom.

Pile on the brown man's burden
To gratify your greed;
Go, clear away the "niggers"
Who progress would impede;
Be very stern, for truly
'Tis useless to be mild
With new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.
Pile on the brown man's burden;
And, if ye rouse his hate,
Meet his old-fashioned reasons
With Maxims up to date.
With shells and dumdum bullets
A hundred times made plain
The brown man's loss must ever
Imply the white man's gain.

Source | Henry Labouchère, "The Brown Man's Burden," in Truth (London); reprinted in Literary Digest 18, 25 February 1899.
Creator | Henry Labouchère
Item Type | Fiction/Poetry
Cite This document | Henry Labouchère, “"The Brown Man's Burden" (Excerpt),” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 14, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/770.

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