White Supremacy

White supremacy or white supremacism is a racist ideology based upon the belief that white people are superior in many ways to people of other races and that therefore white people should be dominant over other races. White supremacy has roots in scientific racism and it often relies on pseudoscientific arguments. Like most similar movements such as neo-Nazism, white supremacists typically oppose people of color as well as people who are members of most religions.

The term is also typically used to describe a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical or institutional domination by white people (as evidenced by historical and contemporary sociopolitical structures such as the Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow laws in the United States, and apartheid in South Africa).[1] Different forms of white supremacism put forth different conceptions of who is considered white, and different forms of white supremacists identify various racial and cultural groups as their primary enemy.[2]

In academic usage, particularly in usage which draws on the critical race theory, the term "white supremacy" can also refer to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy a structural advantage (privilege) over other ethnic groups, both at a collective and an individual level.

History of white supremacy

White supremacy has ideological foundations that at least date back to 17th-century scientific racism, the predominant paradigm of human variation that helped shape international and intra-national relations from the latter part of the Age of Enlightenment (in European history) through the era of the White Man's Burden until the late 20th century (marked by decolonization and the abolition of apartheid in South Africa in 1991, followed by that country's first multiracial elections in 1994).

United States

White supremacy was dominant in the United States even after the American Civil War and it also persisted for decades after the Reconstruction Era.[3] In large areas of the U.S. this included the holding of non-whites (specifically African Americans) in chattel slavery with four million of them denied freedom from bondage.[4] The outbreak of the Civil War saw the desire to uphold white supremacy being cited as a cause for state secession[5] and the formation of the Confederate States of America.[6] In an editorial about Native Americans in 1890, author L. Frank Baum wrote: "The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians."[7]

In some parts of the United States, many people who were considered non-white were disenfranchised, barred from government office, and prevented from holding most government jobs well into the second half of the 20th century. Since the founding of the United States, when the right to vote was restricted to white men of property, professor Leland T. Saito of USC writes: "Throughout the history of the United States race has been used by whites for legitimizing and creating difference and social, economic and political exclusion."[8] The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites only.[9]

The denial of social and political freedom continued into the mid-20th century, resulting in the Civil Rights Movement.[10] On the U.S. immigration laws prior to 1965, sociologist Stephen Klineberg cited the laws as clearly declaring "that Northern Europeans are a superior subspecies of the white race."[11] The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional Northern European and Germanic groups, and as a result it would significantly alter the demographic mix in the U.S.[11] Many U.S. states banned interracial marriage through anti-miscegenation laws until 1967, when these laws were invalidated by the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in Loving v. Virginia. Additionally, white leaders often viewed Native Americans as obstacles to economic and political progress with respect to the natives' claims to land and rights.

Germany

Nazism promoted the idea of a superior Germanic people or Aryan race in Germany during the early 20th century. Notions of white supremacy and Aryan racial superiority were combined in the 19th century, with white supremacists maintaining the belief that white people were members of an Aryan "master race" which is superior to other races, particularly the Jews who were described as the "Semitic race", Slavs and Gypsies, which they associated with "cultural sterility". Arthur de Gobineau, a French racial theorist and aristocrat, blamed the fall of the ancient régime in France on racial degeneracy caused by racial intermixing, which he argued had destroyed the purity of the Nordic or Germanic race. Gobineau's theories, which attracted a strong following in Germany, emphasized the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan or Germanic peoples and Jewish culture.[12]

As the Nazi Party's chief racial theorist, Alfred Rosenberg oversaw the construction of a human racial "ladder" that justified Hitler's racial and ethnic policies. Rosenberg promoted the Nordic theory which regarded Nordics as the "master race", superior to all others, including other Aryans (Indo-Europeans).[13] Rosenberg got the racial term Untermensch from the title of Klansman Lothrop Stoddard's 1922 book The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-man.[14] It was later adopted by the Nazis from that book's German version Der Kulturumsturz: Die Drohung des Untermenschen (1925).[15] Rosenberg was the leading Nazi who attributed the concept of the East-European "under man" to Stoddard.[16] An advocate of the U.S. immigration laws that favored Northern Europeans, Stoddard wrote primarily on the alleged dangers posed by "colored" peoples to white civilization, and wrote The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy in 1920. In establishing a restrictive entry system for Germany, in 1925 Hitler wrote of his admiration for America's immigration laws: "The American Union categorically refuses the immigration of physically unhealthy elements, and simply excludes the immigration of certain races."[17]

German praise for America's institutional racism, previously found in Hitler's Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s, and radical Nazi lawyers were advocates of the use of American models.[18] Race based U.S. citizenship laws and anti-miscegenation laws (no race mixing) directly inspired the Nazi's two principal Nuremberg racial laws--the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law.[18] In order to preserve the Aryan or Nordic race the Nazis had introduced the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which forbade sexual relations and marriages between Germans and Jews, and later between Germans and Romani and Slavs. The Nazis used the Mendelian inheritance theory to argue that social traits were innate, claiming that there was a racial nature associated with certain general traits such as inventiveness or criminal behavior.[19]

According to the 2012 annual report of Germany's interior intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, at the time there were 26,000 right-wing extremists living in Germany, including 6000 Neo-Nazis.[20]

South Africa and Rhodesia

A number of Southern African nations experienced severe racial tension and conflict during global decolonization, particularly as white Africans of European ancestry fought to protect their preferential social and political status. Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times under the Dutch Empire, and it continued when the British took over the Cape of Good Hope in 1795. Apartheid was introduced as an officially structured policy by the Afrikaner-dominated National Party after the general election of 1948. Apartheid's legislation divided inhabitants into four racial groups--"black", "white", "coloured", and "Indian", the last two of which were divided into several sub-classifications.[21] In 1970, the Afrikaner-run government abolished non-white political representation, and starting that year black people were deprived of South African citizenship.[22] South Africa abolished apartheid in 1991.[23][24] In Rhodesia, a predominantly white government issued its own unilateral declaration of independence from the United Kingdom during an unsuccessful attempt to avoid immediate majority rule.[25] Following the Rhodesian Bush War which was fought by African nationalists, Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith acceded to biracial political representation in 1978 and the state achieved recognition from the United Kingdom as Zimbabwe in 1980.[26]

Russia

Neo-Nazi organisations embracing white-supremacist ideology are present in many countries of the world. In 2007 it was claimed that Russian Neo-Nazis accounted for "half of the world's total".[27]

Academic use of the term

The term white supremacy is used in academic studies of racial power to denote a system of structural or societal racism which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or the absence of racial hatred. White racial advantages occur at both a collective and an individual level (ceteris paribus, , when individuals are compared that do not relevantly differ except in ethnicity). Legal scholar Frances Lee Ansley explains this definition as follows:

By "white supremacy" I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.[28][29]

This and similar definitions have been adopted or proposed by Charles Mills,[30]bell hooks,[31] David Gillborn,[32] Jessie Daniels,[33] and Neely Fuller Jr,[34] and they are widely used in critical race theory and intersectional feminism. Some anti-racist educators, such as Betita Martinez and the Challenging White Supremacy workshop, also use the term in this way. The term expresses historic continuities between a pre-Civil Rights Movement era of open white supremacism and the current racial power structure of the United States. It also expresses the visceral impact of structural racism through "provocative and brutal" language that characterizes racism as "nefarious, global, systemic, and constant".[35] Academic users of the term sometimes prefer it to racism because it allows for a disconnection between racist feelings and white racial advantage or privilege.[36][37]

The term's rise in popularity among leftist activists in 2016[] has been characterized by some as counterproductive. A specialist in both language and race relations, John McWhorter has described its use as straying from commonly accepted meaning to encompass much less extreme issues which thereby cheapens the term and can shut-down productive discussion.[38][39] Political columnist Kevin Drum attributes the term's growing popularity in 2016 to frequent use by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and he describes it as a "terrible fad" which fails to convey nuance and should be reserved for those who are trying to promote the idea that whites are inherently superior to blacks and not used for any type of less severe racist belief or action.[40][41] The use of the academic definition of the term white supremacy has been criticized by Conor Friedersdorf for the confusion it creates for the general public in how it differs from the more common dictionary definition and he argues that it is likely to alienate those it hopes to convince.[41]

Ideologies and movements

Supporters of Nordicism consider the "Nordic peoples" to be a superior race.[42] By the early 19th century, white supremacy was attached to emerging theories of racial hierarchy. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer attributed civilisational primacy to the white race:

The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmans, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate.[43]

Members of the second Ku Klux Klan at a rally in 1923.
Flag of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) led by Adolf Hitler.

The eugenicist Madison Grant argued in his 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race, that the Nordic race had been responsible for most of humanity's great achievements, and that admixture was "race suicide".[44] In this book, Europeans who are not of Germanic origin but have Nordic characteristics such as blonde/red hair and blue/green/gray eyes, were considered to be a Nordic admixture and suitable for Aryanization.[45]

In the United States, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is the group most associated with the white supremacist movement. Many white supremacist groups are based on the concept of preserving genetic purity, and they do not focus solely on discrimination based on skin color.[46] The KKK's reasons for supporting racial segregation are not primarily based on religious ideals, but some Klan groups are openly Protestant. The KKK and other white supremacist groups like Aryan Nations, The Order and the White Patriot Party are considered antisemitic.[46]

Nazi Germany promulgated white supremacy based on the belief that the Aryan race, or the Germans, were the master race. It was combined with a eugenics programme that aimed for racial hygiene through compulsory sterilization of sick individuals and extermination of Untermenschen ("subhumans"): Slavs, Jews and Romani, which eventually culminated in the Holocaust.[47][48][49][50][51]

Christian Identity is another movement closely tied to white supremacy. Some white supremacists identify themselves as Odinists, although many Odinists reject white supremacy. Some white supremacist groups, such as the South African Boeremag, conflate elements of Christianity and Odinism. Creativity (formerly known as "The World Church of the Creator") is atheistic and it denounces Christianity and other theistic religions.[52][53] Aside from this, its ideology is similar to that of many Christian Identity groups because it believes in the antisemitic conspiracy theory that there is a "Jewish conspiracy" in control of governments, the banking industry and the media. Matthew F. Hale, founder of the World Church of the Creator, has published articles stating that all races other than white are "mud races," which is what the group's religion teaches.[46]

The white supremacist ideology has become associated with a racist faction of the skinhead subculture, despite the fact that when the skinhead culture first developed in the United Kingdom in the late 1960s, it was heavily influenced by black fashions and music, especially Jamaican reggae and ska, and African American soul music.[54][55][56]

White supremacist recruitment activities are primarily conducted at a grassroots level as well as on the Internet. Widespread access to the Internet has led to a dramatic increase in white supremacist websites.[57] The Internet provides a venue to openly express white supremacist ideas at little social cost, because people who post the information are able to remain anonymous.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Wildman, Stephanie M. (1996). Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America. NYU Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-8147-9303-7. 
  2. ^ Flint, Colin (2004). Spaces of Hate: Geographies of Discrimination and Intolerance in the U.S.A. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 0-415-93586-5. Although white racist activists must adopt a political identity of whiteness, the flimsy definition of whiteness in modern culture poses special challenges for them. In both mainstream and white supremacist discourse, to be white is to be distinct from those marked as non-white, yet the placement of the distinguishing line has varied significantly in different times and places. 
  3. ^ Fredrickson, George (1981). White Supremacy. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. p. 162. ISBN 0-19-503042-7. 
  4. ^ "How the end of slavery led to starvation and death for millions of black Americans". The Guardian. September 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union: "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states."
  6. ^ The controversial "Cornerstone Speech", Alexander H. Stephens (Vice President of the Confederate States), March 21, 1861, Savannah, Georgia: "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone 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."
  7. ^ "L. Frank Baum's Editorials on the Sioux Nation". Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved .  Full text of both, with commentary by professor A. Waller Hastings
  8. ^ Leland T. Saito (1998). "Race and Politics: Asian Americans, Latinos, and Whites in a Los Angeles Suburb". p. 154. University of Illinois Press
  9. ^ Schultz, Jeffrey D. (2002). Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics: African Americans and Asian Americans. p. 284. ISBN 9781573561488. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ "50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Panel Discussion at the Black Archives of Mid-America". The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. August 7, 2013. Archived from the original (press release) on October 4, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Jennifer Ludden. "1965 immigration law changed face of America". NPR. 
  12. ^ Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. "World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia": Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006. p. 62.
  13. ^ Though Rosenberg does not use the word "master race". He uses the word "Herrenvolk" (i.e. ruling people) twice in his book The Myth, first referring to the Amorites (saying that Sayce described them as fair skinned and blue eyed) and secondly quoting Victor Wallace Germains' description of the English in "The Truth about Kitchener". ("The Myth of the Twentieth Century") - Pages 26, 660 - 1930
  14. ^ Stoddard, Lothrop (1922). The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under Man. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 
  15. ^ Losurdo, Domenico (2004). Translated by Marella & Jon Morris. "Toward a Critique of the Category of Totalitarianism" (PDF, 0.2 MB). Historical Materialism. Brill. 12 (2): 25-55, here p. 50. ISSN 1465-4466. doi:10.1163/1569206041551663. 
  16. ^ Rosenberg, Alfred (1930). Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts: Eine Wertung der seelischgeistigen Gestaltungskämpfe unserer Zeit [The Myth of the Twentieth Century] (in German). Munich: Hoheneichen-Verlag. p. 214. 
  17. ^ "American laws against 'coloreds' influenced Nazi racial planners". Times of Israel. Retrieved August 26, 2017
  18. ^ a b Whitman, James Q. (2017). Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. Princeton University Press. pp. 37-43. 
  19. ^ Henry Friedlander. The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. p. 5.
  20. ^ "Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz - Verfassungsschutzbericht 2012". 
  21. ^ Baldwin-Ragaven, Laurel; London, Lesley; du Gruchy, Jeanelle (1999). An ambulance of the wrong colour: health professionals, human rights and ethics in South Africa. Juta and Company Limited. p. 18
  22. ^ John Pilger (2011). "Freedom Next Time". p. 266. Random House
  23. ^ "abolition of the White Australia Policy". Australian Government. November 2010. Retrieved 2011. 
  24. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica, South Africa the Apartheid Years". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2011. 
  25. ^ Gann, L.H. Politics and Government in African States 1960-1985. pp. 162-202. 
  26. ^ Nelson, Harold. Zimbabwe: A Country Study. pp. 1-317. 
  27. ^ "Violence 'in the Name of the Nation'." ABC News. October 11, 2007.
  28. ^ Ansley, Frances Lee (1989). "Stirring the Ashes: Race, Class and the Future of Civil Rights Scholarship". Cornell Law Review. 74: 993ff. 
  29. ^ Ansley, Frances Lee (1997-06-29). "White supremacy (and what we should do about it)". In Richard Delgado; Jean Stefancic. Critical white studies: Looking behind the mirror. Temple University Press. p. 592. ISBN 978-1-56639-532-8. 
  30. ^ Mills, C.W. (2003). "White supremacy as sociopolitical system: A philosophical perspective". White out: the continuing significance of racism: 35-48. 
  31. ^ Hooks, Bell (2000). Feminist theory: From margin to center. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-1663-5. 
  32. ^ Gillborn, David (2006-09-01). "Rethinking White Supremacy Who Counts in 'WhiteWorld'". Ethnicities. 6 (3): 318-40. ISSN 1468-7968. doi:10.1177/1468796806068323. Retrieved . 
  33. ^ Daniels, Jessie (1997). White Lies: race, class, gender and sexuality in white supremacist discourse. Routledge. ISBN 9780415912891. 
  34. ^ Fuller, Neely (1984). The united-independent compensatory code/system/concept: A textbook/workbook for thought, speech, and/or action, for victims of racism (white supremacy). SAGE. p. 334. ASIN B0007BLCWC. 
  35. ^ Davidson, Tim (2009-02-23). "bell hooks, white supremacy, and the academy". In Jeanette Davidson; George Yancy. Critical perspectives on Bell Hooks. Taylor & Francis US. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-415-98980-0. 
  36. ^ "Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks (they could have such feelings and leave us alone) but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation?" hooks, bell (2009-02-04). Black Looks: Race and Representation. Turnaround Publisher Services Limited. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-873262-02-3. 
  37. ^ Grillo and Wildman cite hooks to argue for the term racism/white supremacy: "hooks writes that liberal whites do not see themselves as either prejudiced or interested in domination through coercion, and they do not acknowledge the ways in which they contribute to and benefit from the system of white privilege." Grillo, Trina; Stephanie M. Wildman (1997-06-29). "The implications of making comparisons between racism and sexism (or other isms)". In Richard Delgado; Jean Stefancic. Critical white studies: Looking behind the mirror. Temple University Press. p. 620. ISBN 978-1-56639-532-8. 
  38. ^ "Left Language, Right Language". Retrieved 2016. 
  39. ^ McWhorter, John. "The Difference Between Racial Bias and White Supremacy". TIME. Retrieved 2016. 
  40. ^ "Let's Be Careful With the "White Supremacy" Label". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2016. 
  41. ^ a b Friedersdorf, Conor. "'The Scourge of the Left': Too Much Stigma, Not Enough Persuasion". The Atlantic. Retrieved . 
  42. ^ "Nordicism". Merriam Webster. 
  43. ^ Schopenhauer, Arthur (1851). Parerga and Paralipomena. pp. Vol. 2, Section 92. 
  44. ^ Grant, Madison (1921). The Passing of the Great Race (4 ed.). C. Scribner's sons. p. xxxi. 
  45. ^ Grant, Madison (1916). The Passing of the Great Race. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
  46. ^ a b c http://law.jrank.org/pages/11302/White-Supremacy-Groups.html White Supremacy Groups
  47. ^ Gumkowski, Janusz; Leszczynski, Kazimierz; Robert, Edward (translator) (1961). Hitler's Plans for Eastern Europe (PAPERBACK). Poland Under Nazi Occupation (First ed.) (Polonia Pub. House). p. 219. ASIN B0006BXJZ6. Retrieved March 12, 2014. at Wayback machine.
  48. ^ Peter Longerich (15 April 2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.
  49. ^ "Close-up of Richard Jenne, the last child killed by the head nurse at the Kaufbeuren-Irsee euthanasia facility.". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2011. 
  50. ^ Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A Profile in Power, Chapter VI, first section (London, 1991, rev. 2001)
  51. ^ Snyder, S. & D. Mitchell. Cultural Locations of Disability. University of Michigan Press. 2006.
  52. ^ The new white nationalism in America: its challenge to integration. Cambridge University Press. 2002-06-10. ISBN 9780521808866. Retrieved . For instance, Ben Klassen, founder of the atheistic Church of the Creator and author of The White Man's Bible, discusses Christianity extensively in his writings and denounces it as a religion that has brought untold horror into the world and has divided the white race. 
  53. ^ The World's Religions: Continuities and Transformations. Taylor & Francis. 2009-05-07. ISBN 9781135211004. Retrieved . A competing atheistic or panthestic white racist movement also appeared, which included the Church of the Creator/ Creativity (Gardell 2003: 129-34). 
  54. ^ "Smiling Smash: An Interview with Cathal Smyth, a.k.a. Chas Smash, of Madness". Archived from the original on February 19, 2001. Retrieved . .
  55. ^ Special Articles Archived 2008-12-17 at the Wayback Machine..
  56. ^ Old Skool Jim. Trojan Skinhead Reggae Box Set liner notes. London: Trojan Records. TJETD169. 
  57. ^ 1Adams, Josh; Roscigno, Vincent J. (20 November 2009). "White Supremacists, Oppositional Culture and the World Wide Web". University on North Carolina Press 84 (2005): 759-88. JSTOR 3598477. 

Further reading

  • Dobratz, Betty A. and Shanks-Meile, Stephanie. "White power, white pride!": The white separatist movement in the United States (JHU Press, 2000) ISBN 978-0-8018-6537-4
  • Lincoln Rockwell, George. White Power (John McLaughlin, 1996)
  • MacCann, Ronnarae. White Supremacy in Children's Literature (Routledge, 2000)

External links


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