When I first read Heart of Darkness, my first reaction was ignorance, not racism. I thought that Marlow was simply naive; he did not know any better. Of course, today, we would view many of his passages describing the Congo and the Africans as racist, but I just thought that racism was a social construct, and since it was his first time seeing this new scene, then he was not a "racist". I never fully agreed that Marlow should be deemed a full blown "racist".
Then, I read the article by Chinua Achebe. Although, he makes some solid points, I think that he focuses too much on Conrad as a writer and as a person, and not enough on the actual book, Heart of Darkness. One of his main points is that "Joseph Conrad was a thoroughgoing racist." Why does the fact that Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness make him racist? Why can't he be expressing the ideology and the "Western Desire" of the people of that time? Why can't Marlow's point of view truly be his own, and not Joesph Conrad's? Does this mean that all of the writers and the directors of television shows and movies that contain vulgar, prejudice, racist language and images make them all of the previous?