Webster's dictionary defines racism as "discrimination against the members of one or more races based upon racism." Does Joseph Conrad's book Heart of Darkness suggest that he is a member of this definition's description? Not in the least. In his book, Conrad expresses that he is against what the Englishmen are doing in taking over the African's land. Then, in his article, Achebe says that Conrad is racist because of how he projects the Africans in an intelligence manner. Also, Conrad is not racist, he is just inexperienced. Conrad is not racist, and his book should not be regarded as so. The first reason why Conrad is not racist is the fact that he expresses that he is against what the Englishmen are doing in taking over the African's land.
He shows that the Africans were worked but they perform in a proud, no complaining manner. Conrad says: "It was something natural, that had its reason, that had a meaning. Now and then a boat from the shore gave one momentary contact with reality. It was paddled by black fellows. You could see from afar the white of their eyeballs glistening. They shouted, sang; their bodies streamed with perspiration; they had faces like grotesque masks- these chaps; but they had bone, muscle, a wild vitality, an intense energy of movement, that was as natural as the surf along their coast.
They wanted no excuse for being there. They were a great comfort to look at" (30). Conrad is complimenting the Africans, and also saying that they are a comfort to him. He is not putting them down, but complimenting them. The second reason why Conrad is not racist is because Achebe says that the way he makes African's speak shows that he is racist, this is not true.
Achebe says that because Conrad has the Africans say things such as "Mi stah Kurtz- he dead," and the way he describes the tribe's speech as "short grunting violent babble of uncouth sounds," he is implying that the African's are unintelligent (Conrad 112) (Achebe 255). But, Conrad is simply telling it how he sees and hears it. He heard the natives speak in this manner, and that is how he wrote it in his book. The final reason why Conrad is not racist is because he is not racist, just inexperienced. Even in his article Achebe says: "Conrad was born in 1857, the very year in which the first Anglican missionaries were arriving among my own people in Nigeria. It was certainly not his fault that he lived his life at a time when the reputation of the black man was at a particularly low level" (258).
So Conrad is not racist, he just does not have the experience or the knowledge to put the Africans at the same level as himself, because in his time period, people believed that Africans were lower than they were. In his article, Achebe also says: "Conrad, after all, did sail down the Congo in 1890 when my own father still a babe in arms" (259). This shows that Conrad was a man of 33 when he went to Africa, a middle-aged man with no reason to be among the follower impressions, as would a younger man, nor the stubborn age of an older man. Joseph Conrad is not racist.
He express that he thinks what the Englishmen are doing to the Africans is wrong, the way he has the Africans speaking is just how he heard them speaking, and he is inexperienced, not racist. Conrad's book is not racist, and neither is he. His book should be further read by students, for no other reason than to see how Africans were seen and treated back in Conrad's time. This will prevent further discrimination to all prejudices, by seeing how a group is perceived, even through eyes that are not prejudice..