Chinua Achebe in his essay on Heart of Darkness describes Joseph Conrad as a racist in how he characterizes the native Africans in the novel. Do you agree or disagree with this sentiment? Why or why not?.
In Chinua Achebe's essay, "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness,"" Achebe contends that Joseph Conrad's portrayal of Africa, and the African people, in his book Heart of Darkness, is that of a racist. However, the points Achebe makes are weak, and he is wrong in his argument that Conrad was a racist. Conrad did not portray Africa and its people in a negative light. He only intended to portray it for what it was, a resource-rich area, ripped apart by European colonialism. Therefore, his portrayal of Africans was not racist, but accurate.
One of the first points that Achebe makes about Heart of Darkness is that "it projects the image of Africa as the other world, the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man's vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality."" However, Achebe fails to point out that Africa WAS another world to these Europeans, just as Europe would have been another world to Africans. Africa was so rich in resources, in such an imperialistic time, that it was inevitable that European nations would try to take all they could. The European's interest in Africa should be more of a complement than anything else (on the surface, before reviewing the atrocities). European nations wouldn't have paid as much attention to Africa if they did not covet the resources and cultural items it had. They did not go to Africa and start taking over just because it was fun. They too suffered hardships while on their missions.
In addition, it is widely thought that Conrad wrote this book to bring the horrors of imperialism to everyone's attention. However, he could not openly voice his opinion, because he was writing mainly for a British audience.