Supremacism is an ideology of domination and superiority : it states that a particular class of people is superior to others, and that it should dominate, control, and subjugate others, or is entitled to do it.[1]. The supposed superior class of people can be an age, race, species, ethnicity, religion, gender, social class, ideology, nation, or culture, or any other part of a population.


Some feminist theorists 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]


Centuries of European colonialism in the Americas, Africa, Australia, Oceania, and Asia were justified by white supremacist attitudes.[6] 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.[7][8] 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 they provided the greatest benefit to "inferior" native peoples.[9] 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.[10]

Before the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America was founded with a constitution that contained clauses restricting the government's ability to limit or interfere with the institution of "negro" slavery.[11] In the Cornerstone Speech, Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens declared that one of the Confederacy's foundational tenets was white supremacy over black slaves.[12] 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.[13] The group preached supremacy over all other races, as well as supremacy over Jews, Catholics, and other minorities.[citation needed]

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.[14]

During the early 20th century until the end of World War II, known as the pre-1945 Shōwa era, in Japan, the propaganda of the Empire of Japan used the old concept of hakko ichiu to support the idea that the Yamato were a superior race, destined to rule Asia and the Pacific. Many documents, such as Kokutai no Hongi, Shinmin no Michi, and An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus, discussed this concept of Japanese supremacy.

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.[15] The alleged genocide in the ongoing War in Darfur has been described as an example of Arab racism.[16]

In Asia, ancient Indians considered all foreigners as barbarians. The Muslim scholar Al-Biruni wrote that the Indians called foreigners impure.[17] 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."[17] The Chinese viewed the Europeans as repulsive, ghost-like creatures, and even devils. The Chinese writers also referred to the Europeans as barbarians.[18]


From 1933–1945, 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.[19]



Some academics and writers claim that Christian supremacism was a motivation for the Crusades in the Holy Land, as well as for crusades against Muslims and pagans throughout Europe.[20] The Atlantic slave trade has been attributed in part to Christian supremacism as well.[21] 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.[22][23]


Some academics and writers also allege Muslim or Islamic supremacism. Others claim 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.[24] Examples of how supremacists have exploited the name of Islam include the Muslim participation in the African slave trade, the early 20th century pan-Islamism promoted by Abdul Hamid II,[25] the jizya and rules of marriage in Muslim countries being imposed on non-Muslims,[26] the majority Muslim interpretations of the rules of pluralism in Malaysia, and "defensive" supremacism practiced by some Muslim immigrants in Europe.[27] Other writers posit a "poisonous, violent, Islamic supremacist creed",[28] and that supremacism is as inherent in Islam as it is in all other religions.[29]


Some academics and writers allege Jewish supremacism, often in relation to Israel and Zionism. Author Minna Rozen writes that 17th century Jews who lived in Jerusalem were supremacist in their views that they were superior over other Jews.[30] Ilan Pappé, an Israeli historian, writes that the First Aliyah to Israel "established a society based on Jewish supremacy."[31] Joseph Massad, a Professor of Arab Studies, holds that "Jewish supremacism" always has been a "dominating principle" in religious and secular Zionism.[32][33] The Anti-Defamation League[34] and Southern Poverty Law Center[35] 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.[36] Kevin B. MacDonald, known for his theory of Judaism as a "group evolutionary strategy", has also been accused by the ADL[37] and his own university psychology department[38] of being "antisemitic" and white supremacist in his writings on the subject. However, prominent rabbis have, in fact, explicitly made claims regarding purported Jewish superiority.[39][40]

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 0-00-722405-2. 
  4. ^ Humm, Maggie (1992). Modern feminisms: Political, Literary, Cultural. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08072-7. 
  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. ^ Takashi Fujitani, Geoffrey Miles White, Lisa Yoneyama, Perilous memories: the Asia-Pacific War(s), p. 303, 2001.
  7. ^ Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899–1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03081-9.  p. 5: "...imperialist editors came out in favor of retaining the entire archipelago (using) higher-sounding justifications related to the "white man's burden."
  8. ^ 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."
  9. ^ "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question". 
  10. ^ "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question". 
  11. ^ "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."
  12. ^ 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."
  13. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877, Perennial (HarperCollins), 1989, pp. 425–26.
  14. ^ 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."
  15. ^ "Racism in Sudan". 
  16. ^ "Welcome To B'nai Brith". Bnaibrith.ca. 2004-08-04. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  17. ^ a b The First Spring: The Golden Age of India by Abraham Eraly p. 313
  18. ^ The Haunting Past: Politics, Economics and Race in Caribbean Life by Alvin O. Thompson p. 210
  19. ^ Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006. p. 62.
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ "PublicEye.org - The Website of Political Research Associates". www.publiceye.org. Retrieved 2015-07-04. 
  24. ^ 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
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ Bassam Tibi, Ethnicity of Fear? Islamic Migration and the Ethnicization of Islam in Europe, John Wiley & Sons online, June 2010.
  28. ^ Mark W. Smith, The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2008: The Arguments You Need to Defeat the Loony Left This Election Year, Regnery Publishing, 2007, p. 27, ISBN 1-59698-049-4, ISBN 978-1-59698-049-5
  29. ^ Robert Spencer, Stealth jihad: how radical Islam is subverting America without guns or bombs, Regnery Publishing, 2008, p. 101, 203, 207, ISBN 1-59698-556-9, ISBN 978-1-59698-556-8
  30. ^ Minna Rozen, Jewish identity and society in the seventeenth century: reflections on the life and work of Refael Mordekhai Malki, Mohr Siebeck, 129, 1992 ISBN 3-16-145770-6, ISBN 978-3-16-145770-8
  31. ^ Ilan Pappé, The Israel/Palestine question, 89, 1999 ISBN 0-415-16947-X, 9780415169479
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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 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
  34. ^ "David Duke: Ideology". ADL.org. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  35. ^ "American Renaissance". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  36. ^ Duke, David. Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. Aware Journalism, 2007.
  37. ^ Kevin MacDonald article "Kevin MacDonald: Ideology" Check url= value (help). http://archive.adl.org/. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 21 March 2015.  External link in website= (help)
  38. ^ Rider, Tiffany (October 6, 2008). "Academic senate disassociates itself from Professor MacDonald". Daily 49er. 
  39. ^ "Sephardi leader Yosef: Non-Jews exist to serve Jews". jta.org. Retrieved 22 October 2017. 
  40. ^ "Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?". counterpunch.org. Retrieved 22 October 2017.