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Supremacism is an ideology which holds that a certain class of people is superior to others, and that they should dominate, control, and subjugate others, or are entitled to do so.[1] The supposed superior people can be an age, race (classification of human beings) species, ethnicity, gender (social construct), sexuality, social class, ideology, nation, or culture, or any other part of a 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.[2] 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.[3][4][5]


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.[6][7]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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] In the Cornerstone Speech, Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens declared that one of the Confederacy's foundational tenets was white supremacy over black slaves.[11] 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.[12] 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."[13]

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".[14] 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.[15] Vacher de Lapouge became one of the leading inspirations of Nazi antisemitism and Nazi racist ideology.[16]

The Anti-Defamation League[17] and Southern Poverty Law Center[18] 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.[19]Kevin B. MacDonald, known for his theory of Judaism as a "group evolutionary strategy", has also been accused by the ADL[20] and his own university psychology department[21] of being "antisemitic" and white supremacist in his writings on the subject.

Cornel West, an African-American philosopher, writes that Black supremacist religious views arose in America as part of black Muslim theology in response to white supremacism.[22]

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.[23]The alleged genocide and ethnic cleansing in the ongoing War in Darfur has been described as an example of Arab racism.[24] For example, in their analysis of the sources of the conflict, Julie Flint and Alex de Wall 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.[25]

In Asia, ancient Indians considered all foreigners barbarians. The Muslim scholar Al-Biruni wrote that the Indians called foreigners impure.[26] 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."[26] The Chinese viewed the Europeans as repulsive, ghost-like creatures, and even as devils. Chinese writers also referred to the Europeans as barbarians.[27]


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.[28]



Academics Carol Lansing and Edward D. English claim that Christian supremacism was a motivation for the Crusades in the Holy Land, as well as crusades against Muslims and pagans throughout Europe.[29] 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")."[30] The Atlantic slave trade has also been partially attributed to Christian supremacism.[31] 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.[32][33]


Academics Khaled Abou El Fadl, Ian Lague, and Joshua Cone allege instances of Muslim or Islamic supremacism but also note that the Qur'an and other Islamic documents always speak of tolerant, protective beliefs, which have been misused, misquoted, and misinterpreted by both Islamic extremists and Islamophobes.[34] 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,[35] the jizya and rules of marriage in Muslim countries being imposed on non-Muslims,[36] the majority Muslim interpretations of the rules of pluralism in Malaysia, and "defensive" supremacism practiced by some Muslim immigrants in Europe.[37] According to founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, "it is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet".[38] 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.[39]

William Kilpatrick in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad posits that Islam, unlike other religions, positively commands its adherents to impose its religious law on all peoples, believers and unbelievers alike, whenever possible and by any means necessary.[40] Despite being comparatively more tolerant than Christian Europe there were numerous incidents of massacres and ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians in North Africa,[41] especially in Morocco, Libya and Algeria where eventually Jews were forced to live in ghettos.[42] Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted during the Middle Ages in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.[43] At certain times in Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death.[44] 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.[45] However, by the mid-1970s the vast majority of Jews had left Muslim-majority countries, moving primarily to Israel, France and the United States.[46] The reasons for the exodus are varied and disputed.[46]


Ilan Pappé, an expatriate Israeli historian, writes that the First Aliyah to Israel "established a society based on Jewish supremacy".[47]Joseph Massad, a Professor of Arab Studies, holds that "Jewish supremacism" has always been a "dominating principle" in religious and secular Zionism.[48][49]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!"[50]

See also


  1. ^ "Supremacist". Merriam-Webster.
  2. ^ Peggy Reeves Sanday, Female power and male dominance: on the origins of sexual inequality, Cambridge University Press, 1981, pp. 6-8, 113-14, 174, 182. ISBN 0-521-28075-3, ISBN 978-0-521-28075-4
  3. ^ Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus. London: Collins. 2006. ISBN 978-0-00-722405-0.
  4. ^ Humm, Maggie (1992). Modern feminisms: Political, Literary, Cultural. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-08072-9.
  5. ^ Cornell, Drucilla (1998). At the heart of freedom: feminism, sex, and equality. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02896-5.
  6. ^ Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-03081-5. p. 5: "...imperialist editors came out in favor of retaining the entire archipelago (using) higher-sounding justifications related to the "white man's burden."
  7. ^ Opinion archive, International Herald Tribune (February 4, 1999). "In Our Pages: 100, 75 and 50 Years Ago; 1899: Kipling's Plea". International Herald Tribune: 6.: Notes that Rudyard Kipling's new poem, "The White Man's Burden", "is regarded as the strongest argument yet published in favor of expansion."
  8. ^ "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question".
  9. ^ "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question".
  10. ^ "Constitution of the Confederate States". March 11, 1861.: "No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed."
  11. ^ 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."
  12. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, Perennial (HarperCollins), 1989, pp. 425-26.
  13. ^ Nichols, William: Christian Antisemitism, A History of Hate (1993) p. 314.
  14. ^ 1965-, Hecht, Jennifer Michael (2003). The end of the soul: scientific modernity, atheism, and anthropology in France. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0231128469. OCLC 53118940.
  15. ^ 1965-, Hecht, Jennifer Michael (2003). The end of the soul : scientific modernity, atheism, and anthropology in France. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 171-72. ISBN 978-0231128469. OCLC 53118940.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "David Duke: Ideology". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ "American Renaissance". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ Duke, David. Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. Aware Journalism, 2007.
  20. ^ "Kevin MacDonald: Ideology". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Rider, Tiffany (October 6, 2008). "Academic senate disassociates itself from Professor MacDonald". Daily 49er.
  22. ^ Cornel West, Race Matters, Beacon Press, 1993, p. 99: "The basic aim of black Muslim theology--with its distinct black supremacist account of the origins of white people--was to counter white supremacy."
  23. ^ "Racism in Sudan". February 2011.
  24. ^ "Welcome To B'nai Brith". August 4, 2004. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  25. ^ Flint and de Waal, Darfur: A New History of a Long War, rev. ed. (London and New York: Zed Books, 2008), pp.47-49.
  26. ^ a b The First Spring: The Golden Age of India by Abraham Eraly p. 313
  27. ^ The Haunting Past: Politics, Economics and Race in Caribbean Life by Alvin O. Thompson p. 210
  28. ^ Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006. p. 62.
  29. ^ Carol Lansing, Edward D. English, A companion to the medieval world, Volume 7, John Wiley and Sons, 2009, p. 457, ISBN 1-4051-0922-X, 9781405109222
  30. ^ Albert Ehrman, "The Origins of the Ritual Murder Accusation and Blood Libel," Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Spring 1976): 86
  31. ^ Mary E. Hunt, Diann L. Neu, New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2010, p. 122, ISBN 1-59473-285-X, 9781594732850
  32. ^ R. Scott Appleby, The ambivalence of the sacred: religion, violence, and reconciliation, Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict series, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, p. 103, ISBN 0-8476-8555-1, ISBN 978-0-8476-8555-4
  33. ^ " - The Website of Political Research Associates". Retrieved 2015.
  34. ^ Joshua Cohen, Ian Lague, Khaled Abou El Fadl, The place of tolerance in Islam, Beacon Press, 2002, p. 23, ISBN 0-8070-0229-1, ISBN 978-0-8070-0229-2
  35. ^ Gareth Jenkins, Political Islam in Turkey: running west, heading east?, Macmillan, 2008, p. 59, ISBN 1-4039-6883-7, ISBN 978-1-4039-6883-8
  36. ^ Malise Ruthven, Islam: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 1997, Macmillan, 2008 p. 117, ISBN 0-19-950469-5, ISBN 978-0-19-950469-5
  37. ^ Bassam Tibi, Ethnicity of Fear? Islamic Migration and the Ethnicization of Islam in Europe, John Wiley & Sons online, June 2010.
  38. ^ "Terrorism: Muslim Brotherhood". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2019.
  39. ^ Lewis, Bernard, The Political Language of Islam, p. 73
  40. ^ Kilpatrick, William (2016). The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. Regnery. p. 256. ISBN 978-1621575771.
  41. ^ "The Forgotten Refugees - Historical Timeline". September 27, 2008. Retrieved 2019.
  42. ^ Roumani, Maurice. The Case of the Jews from Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue, 1977, pp. 26-27.
  43. ^ "The Treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic Countries". February 19, 1947. Retrieved 2011.
  44. ^ Bat Ye'or, The Dhimmi, 1985, p. 61
  45. ^ Lewis (1986), p. 204
  46. ^ a b Yehouda Shenhav. The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity
  47. ^ Ilan Pappé (1999). The Israel/Palestine question. p. 89. 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
  48. ^ 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.
  49. ^ 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
  50. ^ Herzl, Theodor (1896). "Palästina oder Argentinien?". Der Judenstaat (in German). p. 29 (31). Retrieved May 27, 2016.

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