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Supremacism is the belief that a certain group of people is superior to all others. The supposed superior people can be defined by age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, language, social class, ideology, nation, or culture, or belong to any other part of a particular population.
Some feminist theorists[who?] have argued that in patriarchy, a standard of male supremacism is enforced through a variety of cultural, political, and interpersonal strategies. Since the 19th century there have been a number of feminist movements opposed to male supremacism, usually aimed at achieving equal legal rights and protections for women in all cultural, political and interpersonal relations.
Centuries of European colonialism in the Americas, Africa, Australia, Oceania, and Asia were justified by white supremacist attitudes. During the 19th century, the phrase "The White Man's Burden", referring to the thought that whites have the obligation to make the societies of the other peoples more 'civilized', was widely used to justify imperialist policy as a noble enterprise. Thomas Carlyle, known for his historical account of the French Revolution, The French Revolution: A History, which inspired Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities, argued that European supremacist policies were justified on the grounds that they provided the greatest benefit to "inferior" native peoples. However, even at the time of its publication in 1849, Carlyle's main work on the subject, the Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question, was received poorly by his contemporaries.
Before the outbreak of the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America was founded with a constitution that contained clauses which restricted the government's ability to limit or interfere with the institution of "negro" slavery. In the Cornerstone Speech, Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens declared that one of the Confederacy's foundational tenets was white supremacy over black slaves. Following the war, a secret society, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in the South. Its purpose was to "restore" white supremacy after the Reconstruction period, even though there still was white, Protestant supremacy in the United States, at the time. The group preached supremacy over all other races, as well as supremacy over Jews, Catholics, and other minorities.
According to William Nichols, religious antisemitism can be distinguished from modern antisemitism which is based on racial or ethnic grounds. "The dividing line was the possibility of effective conversion ... a Jew ceased to be a Jew upon baptism." However, with racial antisemitism, "Now the assimilated Jew was still a Jew, even after baptism ... . From the Enlightenment onward, it is no longer possible to draw clear lines of distinction between religious and racial forms of hostility towards Jews... Once Jews have been emancipated and secular thinking makes its appearance, without leaving behind the old Christian hostility towards Jews, the new term antisemitism becomes almost unavoidable, even before explicitly racist doctrines appear."
One of the first typologies which was used to classify various human races was invented by Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936), a theoretician of eugenics, who published in 1899 L'Aryen et son rôle social (1899 – "The Aryan and his social role"). In this book, he classifies humanity into various, hierarchized races, spanning from the "Aryan white race, dolichocephalic", to the "brachycephalic", "mediocre and inert" race, best represented by Southern European, Catholic peasants". Between these, Vacher de Lapouge identified the "Homo europaeus" (Teutonic, Protestant, etc.), the "Homo alpinus" (Auvergnat, Turkish, etc.), and finally the "Homo mediterraneus" (Neapolitan, Andalus, etc.) Jews were brachycephalic like the Aryans, according to Lapouge; but exactly for this reason he considered them dangerous; they were the only group, he thought, which was threatening to displace the Aryan aristocracy. Vacher de Lapouge became one of the leading inspirations of Nazi antisemitism and Nazi racist ideology.
The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center condemn writings about "Jewish Supremacism" by Holocaust-denier, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, and conspiracy theorist David Duke as antisemitic – in particular, his book Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. Kevin B. MacDonald, known for his theory of Judaism as a "group evolutionary strategy", has also been accused by the ADL and his own university psychology department of being "antisemitic" and white supremacist in his writings on the subject.
In Africa, black Southern Sudanese allege that they are subjected to a racist form of Arab supremacy, which they equate with the historic white supremacism of South African apartheid. The alleged genocide and ethnic cleansing in the ongoing War in Darfur has been described as an example of Arab racism. For example, in their analysis of the sources of the conflict, Julie Flint and Alex de Waal say that Colonel Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, sponsored "Arab supremacism" across the Sahara during the 1970s. Gaddafi supported the "Islamic Legion" and the Sudanese opposition "National Front, including the Muslim Brothers and the Ansar, the Umma Party's military wing." Gaddafi tried to use such forces to annex Chad from 1979-81. Gaddafi supported the Sudanese government's war in the South during the early 1980s, and in return he was allowed to use the Darfur region as a "back door to Chad." As a result, the first signs of an "Arab racist political platform" appeared in Darfur in the early 1980s.
In Asia, ancient Indians considered all foreigners barbarians. The Muslim scholar Al-Biruni wrote that the Indians called foreigners impure. A few centuries later, Dubois observes that "Hindus look upon Europeans as barbarians totally ignorant of all principles of honour and good breeding... In the eyes of a Hindu, a Pariah (outcaste) and a European are on the same level." The Chinese viewed the Europeans as repulsive, ghost-like creatures, and even as devils. Chinese writers also referred to the Europeans as barbarians.
From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany, under the rule of Adolf Hitler, promoted the idea of a superior, Aryan Herrenvolk, or master race. The state's propaganda advocated the belief that Germanic peoples, whom they called "Aryans", were a master race or a Herrenvolk that was superior to the Jews, Slavs, and Romani people, so-called "gypsies". Arthur de Gobineau, a French racial theorist and aristocrat, blamed the fall of the ancien régime in France on racial intermixing, which he argued had destroyed the purity of the Nordic race. Gobineau's theories, which attracted a strong following in Germany, emphasized the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan and Jewish cultures.
Academics Carol Lansing and Edward D. English argue that Christian supremacism was a motivation for the Crusades in the Holy Land, as well as crusades against Muslims and pagans throughout Europe. The blood libel is a widespread European conspiracy theory which led to centuries of pogroms and massacres of European Jewish minorities because it alleged that Jews required the pure blood of a Christian child in order to make matzah for Passover; Thomas of Cantimpré writes of the blood curse which the Jews put upon themselves and all of their generations at the court of Pontius Pilate where Jesus was handed a death sentence: "A very learned Jew, who in our day has been converted to the (Christian) faith, informs us that one enjoying the reputation of a prophet among them, toward the close of his life, made the following prediction: 'Be assured that relief from this secret ailment, to which you are exposed, can only be obtained through Christian blood ("solo sanguine Christiano")." The Atlantic slave trade has also been partially attributed to Christian supremacism. The Ku Klux Klan has been described as a white supremacist Christian organization, as are many other white supremacist groups, such as the Posse Comitatus and the Christian Identity and Positive Christianity movements.
Academics Khaled Abou El Fadl, Ian Lague, and Joshua Cone note that, while the Qur'an and other Islamic documents express tolerant, protective beliefs, which have been misused, misquoted, and misinterpreted by both Islamic extremists and Islamophobes, there have also been instances of Muslim or Islamic supremacism. Examples of how supremacists have interpreted Islam include the Muslim participation in the African slave trade, the early-20th-century pan-Islamism promoted by Abdul Hamid II, the jizya and rules of marriage in Muslim countries being imposed on non-Muslims, the majority Muslim interpretations of the rules of pluralism in Malaysia, and "defensive" supremacism practiced by some Muslim immigrants in Europe. According to scholar Bernard Lewis, Classical Islamic jurisprudence imposes an open-ended duty on Muslims to expand Muslim rule and Islamic law to all non-Muslims throughout the world.
Despite being comparatively more tolerant in the past than Christian Europe, North Africa has witnessed numerous incidents of massacres and ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians, especially in Morocco, Libya and Algeria where eventually Jews were forced to live in ghettos. Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted during the Middle Ages in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. At certain times in Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death. While there were antisemitic incidents before the 20th century, antisemitism increased dramatically as a result of the Arab–Israeli conflict. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Palestinian exodus, the creation of the state of Israel and Israeli victories during the wars of 1956 and 1967 were a severe humiliation to Israel's opponents—primarily Egypt, Syria and Iraq. However, by the mid-1970s the vast majority of Jews had left Muslim-majority countries, moving primarily to Israel, France and the United States. The reasons for the exodus are varied and disputed.
Ilan Pappé, an expatriate Israeli historian, writes that the First Aliyah to Israel "established a society based on Jewish supremacy". Joseph Massad, a professor of Arab studies, holds that "Jewish supremacism" has always been a "dominating principle" in religious and secular Zionism. Zionism was established with the political goal of creating a sovereign Jewish state where Jews could be the majority, rather than the minority which they were in all nations of the world at that time. Theodor Herzl, the ideological father of Zionism, considered antisemitism to be an eternal feature of all societies in which Jews lived as minorities, and as a result, he believed that only a separation could allow Jews to escape eternal persecution. "Let them give us sovereignty over a piece of the Earth's surface, just sufficient for the needs of our people, then we will do the rest!"
Since the 1990s, Orthodox Jewish rabbis from Israel, most notably those affiliated to Chabad-Lubavitch and religious Zionist organizations, including The Temple Institute, have set up a modern Noahide movement to proselytize among non-Jews (usually referred to as "Gentiles" or goyim). These Noahide organizations, led by religious Zionist and Orthodox rabbis, are aimed at non-Jews in order to proselytize among them and commit them to follow the Noahide laws. However, these religious Zionist and Orthodox rabbis that guide the modern Noahide movement, who are often affiliated with the Third Temple movement, expound a racist and supremacist ideology which consists in the belief that the Jewish people are God's chosen nation and racially superior to non-Jews, and mentor Noahides because they believe that the Messianic era will begin with the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to re-institute the Jewish priesthood along with the practice of ritual sacrifices, and the establishment of a Jewish theocracy in Israel, supported by communities of Noahides.
David Novak, professor of Jewish theology and ethics at the University of Toronto, has denounced the modern Noahide movement by stating that "If Jews are telling Gentiles what to do, it’s a form of imperialism".
- Class discrimination
- Cultural hegemony
- Cultural imperialism
- Ethnic cleansing
- Ethnic conflict
- Far-right politics
- Hegemonic masculinity
- Might makes right
- Nativism (politics)
- Religious discrimination
- Religious persecution
- Religious war
- Scientific racism
- Social Darwinism
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- Alexander Stephens (March 21, 1861). ""Corner Stone" Speech".: "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."
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- See Pierre-André Taguieff, La couleur et le sang – Doctrines racistes à la française ("Colour and Blood – Racist doctrines à la française"), Paris, Mille et une nuits, 2002, 203 pages, and La Force du préjugé – Essai sur le racisme et ses doubles, Tel Gallimard, La Découverte, 1987, 644 pages
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Whereas the First Aliya established a society based on Jewish supremacy, the Second Aliya's method of colonization was separation from Palestinians.ISBN 0-415-16947-X, 9780415169479
- David Hirsch, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: Cosmopolitan Reflections Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism Working Paper Series; discussion of Joseph Massad's "The Ends of Zionism: Racism and the Palestinian Struggle", Interventions, Volume 5, Number 3, 2003, 440–51, 2003.
- According to Joseph Massad's "Response to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report1" Archived 2006-09-13 at the Wayback Machine on his Columbia University web site during a 2002 rally he said "Israeli Jews will continue to feel threatened if they persist in supporting Jewish supremacy." Massad notes there that others have misquoted him as saying that Israel was a "Jewish supremacist and racist state." See for example David Horowitz, The professors: the 101 most dangerous academics in America, Regnery Publishing, 271, 2006
- Herzl, Theodor (1896). "Palästina oder Argentinien?". Der Judenstaat (in German). sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de. p. 29 (31). Retrieved May 27, 2016.
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