“With the determination to reap inordinate profits and to exploit the weakest to the utmost there came a new imperialism,—the rage for one’s own nation to own the earth or, at least, a large enough portion of it to insure as big profits as the next nation. Where sections could not be owned by one dominant nation there came a policy of “open door,” but the “door” was open to “white people only.” As to the darkest and weakest of peoples there was but one unanimity in Europe,—the doctrine of the divine right of white people to steal. … This chance lies in the exploitation of darker peoples. It is here that the golden hand beckons. Here are no labor unions or votes or questioning onlookers or inconvenient consciences. These men may be used down to the very bone, and shot and maimed in “punitive” expeditions when they revolt. In these dark lands “industrial development” may repeat in exaggerated form every horror of the industrial history of Europe, from slavery and rape to disease and maiming, with only one test of success,—dividends! … [And] America, Land of Democracy, wanted to believe in the failure of democracy so far as darker peoples were concerned. Absolutely without excuse she established a caste system, rushed into preparation for war, and conquered tropical colonies. She stands today shoulder to shoulder with Europe in Europe’s worst sin against civilization.”

W. E. B. Du Bois. 1920. “The Souls of White Folk.” Chapter Two in Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

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W. E. B. Du Bois

 

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