Paired Texts > The White Man's Burden
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Reverend H.T. Johnson wrote this poem in response to Kipling's "The White Man's Burden."Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “The Black Man’s Burden” and ask students to compare the poems. How does each writer portray the “burden” placed on white and black persons? What stance does each piece take on colonialism?
Upon arriving to the island "Juana"--present-day Cuba--Italian explorer Christopher Columbus wrote this letter to the benefactor of his voyage about the rich landscape and curious people he encountered in this promising new territory.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “Letter to the Treasurer of Spain” and ask students to compare the two perspectives. How does each writer depict the lives of the native people they wish to help or conquer?
In Mark Twain's "The War Prayer," a stranger visits a congregation praying for victory in war. In front of the entire congregation, this stranger outlines the cost on human life that this victory would entail. "The War Prayer" is Twain's scathing indictment on war and blind patriotism.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “The War Prayer” and ask students to discuss each author’s stance on war.
In "Those Kids Never Got to Go Home," the article discusses recent pleas from the Rosebud Sioux nation to reclaim the remains of former students of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “Those Kids Never Got to Go Home” and ask students to discuss the history of assimilation into Eurocentric cultures.. How did white Americans justify their assimilation of indigenous peoples? What was the Native American experience of this often forced process like?
In "The Wounded Knee Massacre," a variety of personal accounts shed light on the violent conflict between the Sioux and American soldiers on December 29, 1890.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “The Wounded Knee Massacre” to provide students with an additional example of the United States’ experiences with colonization and assimilation. How are the views of “the White Man” reflected in the United States’ relationship with Native Americans?
This informational text about the history of South Africa explains how apartheid was used to separate and discriminate against non-white South Africans.Pair “South African Apartheid” with “The White Man’s Burden” and ask students to compare and contrast the attitude of the speaker in the poem with the attitude of the South African government from the article. Based on their reading of both texts, why do governments create racist laws?
The Royal Museum of Central Africa still contains artifacts that celebrate, rather than condemn, the history of colonization and planners are trying to figure out how to renovate the museum.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “Forget King Leopold’s Ghost. There are Still Skeletons in His Closet” and ask students if they believe King Leopold II would have agreed with Rudyard Kipling’s racist ideas? How might Rudyard Kipling have used King Leopold’s actions in Congo as evidence to support his ideas in the poem?
In "Endless Summer Job," a successful author recounts a formative experience from her youth and reveals that even great personal success cannot shield us from the scars of racism.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with “Endless Summer Job” and ask students to compare the attitudes about race displayed by the poem’s speaker with those of the employer in the story. Although these texts are set nearly a century apart from one another, how do they highlight similar attitudes regarding white supremacy? How are the attitudes of British Imperialism in the poem also reflected in the more subtle actions of a community of wealthy white Americans a century later? In what ways do both subtle and overt white supremacist belief systems continue to impact both the US and the global community?
In these excerpts from Frederick Douglass' autobiography, African American hero and champion for the Freedmen of America tells audiences how he learned to read.Pair “The White Man’s Burden” with "'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass': Excerpts from Chapters 1 and 7" to spark a discussion about the mindsets that led Western nations to justify slavery.