Unmitigated European colonial self-interest

Ross lays out his plan for replacing the false discourse of the “white man’s burden” with one of naked European self-interest.

In this article, Ross lays out his plan for the continued European domination of Africa in language so uncompromisingly Euro-centric  and self-interested that it is worth translating at length:

“At the time when things were going well for us, and when we were the unchallenged rulers of the world, we whites had the luxury of entertaining theoretical ideas about equality and the equal rights of all races, and of freely sharing our inventions and discoveries, our machines and weapons, with all peoples. But now, or in the near future, we will have to fight for our own survival.

“In order to survive, Europe needs Africa and, in order to retain control over Africa, Europe can no longer afford to doubt the superiority of the white race over the black race nor to doubt Europe’s moral right to dominate, even oppress the Africans.

“Today, we simply can not afford to mask our exploitative agenda with false phrases like the ‘white man’s burden’ or of the white race’s ‘duty to watch over and raise’ the coloreds until they are ready to govern themselves. […]

“No, it must be stated once and for all: Europe must dominate Africa for Europe’s own sake, for the sake of its own interests. And in order to maintain this dominance, it has to steadfastly adhere to the claim—to the fiction, as far as I’m concerned—of being the superior race destined to rule, who retains this rule for the good of the dominated as well. This will only be possible through the clear division of the races, and a break with any plan to solve the race problem through education and nurture. […]

“There is no point in deluding ourselves about the nature of the races we want to subjugate. The Negroes are neither children nor an inferior race that is unable to govern itself. They are physically outstanding, healthy, and strong. […] In terms of character, they have excellent qualities […], and as far as their intelligence goes, I believe, given my experiences with my African porters and bush savages, as well as with academically educated blacks here in America and in Africa, that the Negroes are just as able to adopt our education and our technology as are, for example, the Japanese. […]

“If Europe has the opportunity to rule over Africa, then it is because the blacks are pretty much the only colored race that has brought a primitive state of culture into our highly civilized era. Now we need to maintain this primitive state of culture at all costs, if we don’t want to risk losing the white upper hand. Because if you don’t believe in the mental inferiority of the blacks—and I hold such a belief for a dangerous delusion—then the maintenance of this primitive cultural state is the only way to guarantee European dominance”.

Kristin Kopp








Colin Ross.  Amerika und das schwarze Weltproblem. In: Zeitschrift für Geopolitik. 1934 July;  11 (2. Halbband, H. 7): 399-409.


Topic: Colonialism
Case: Geopolitics


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