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Supremacism is the belief that a certain group of people is superior to all others.[1] The supposed superior people can be defined by age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, social class, ideology, nationality, culture, or belong to any other part of a particular population.


"Male supremacy" redirects here. For similar concepts, see male dominance.

Further information: Patriarchy, Matriarchy, Androcentrism, Gynocentrism, Homophobia, Male privilege, Female privilege, Radical feminism, Misandry, Misogyny, Sexism, and Transphobia

Some feminist theorists[2] have argued that in patriarchy, a standard of male "supremacism" is enforced through a variety of cultural, political, religious, sexual, and interpersonal strategies.[2][3] 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.[4][5][6]


Main article: Race (human categorization)

Further information: Arab supremacy, Black supremacy, White supremacy, Malay supremacy, Eurocentrism, Japanese Fascism, Uyoku dantai, Korean ethnic nationalism, Indocentrism, Sinocentrism, Han chauvinism, Nazi racial theories, Racial policy of Nazi Germany, Racism, Institutional racism, Scientific racism, and Racial segregation

Centuries of European colonialism in the Americas, Africa, Australia, Oceania, and Asia were justified by white supremacist attitudes.[7] White European Americans who participated in the slave industry tried to justify their economic exploitation of black people by creating a scientific theory of white superiority and black inferiority.[8] Thomas Jefferson, pioneer of scientific racism and enslaver of over 600 black people (regarded as property under the Articles of Confederation),[9] wrote that blacks were "inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind."[10] A justification for the conquest and subjugation of Native Americans emanated from their dehumanized perception as "merciless Indian savages", as described in the United States Declaration of Independence.[11][12]

During the 19th century, "The White Man's Burden", the phrase which refers to the thought that whites have the obligation to make the societies of the other peoples more 'civilized', was widely used to justify imperialist policies as a noble enterprise.[13][14] Thomas Carlyle, known for his historical account of the French Revolution, The French Revolution: A History, argued that European supremacist policies were justified on the grounds that they provided the greatest benefit to "inferior" native peoples.[15] 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 poorly received by his contemporaries.[16]

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.[17] In the Cornerstone Speech, Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens declared that one of the Confederacy's foundational tenets was white supremacy over black slaves.[18] Following the war, a secret society, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in the South. Its purpose was to maintain white, Protestant supremacy after the Reconstruction period, which it did so through violence and intimidation.[19]

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."[20]

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 L'Aryen et son rôle social (1899 – "The Aryan and his social role") in 1899. In his book, he divides humanity into various, hierarchical races, starting with the highest race which is the "Aryan white race, dolichocephalic", and ending with the lowest race which is the "brachycephalic", "mediocre and inert" race, that race is best represented by Southern European, Catholic peasants".[21] 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 just like the Aryans were, according to Lapouge; but he considered them dangerous for this exact reason; they were the only group, he thought, which was threatening to displace the Aryan aristocracy.[22] Vacher de Lapouge became one of the leading inspirations of Nazi antisemitism and Nazi racist ideology.[23]

The Anti-Defamation League[24] (ADL) and Southern Poverty Law Center[25] 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.[26] Kevin B. MacDonald, known for his theory of Judaism as a "group evolutionary strategy", has also been accused of being "antisemitic" and white supremacist in his writings on the subject by the ADL[27] and his own university psychology department.[28]

Cornel West, an African-American philosopher, writes that black supremacist religious views arose in America as a part of black Muslim theology in response to white supremacism.[29]

In Africa, black Southern Sudanese allege that they are being subjected to a racist form of Arab supremacy, which they equate with the historic white supremacism of South African apartheid.[30] The alleged genocide and ethnic cleansing in the ongoing War in Darfur has been described as an example of Arab racism.[31] 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.[32]

In Asia, ancient Indians considered all foreigners barbarians. The Muslim scholar Al-Biruni wrote that the Indians called foreigners impure.[33] 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."[33] The Chinese considered the Europeans repulsive, ghost-like creatures, and they even considered them devils. Chinese writers also referred to foreigners as barbarians.[34]

Nazi Germany

Main articles: Völkisch movement, White supremacy § Germany, Nazism, Nazi racial theories, Racial policy of Nazi Germany, and The Holocaust

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 whose members were 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 believed had destroyed the purity of the Nordic race. Gobineau's theories, which attracted a large and strong following in Germany, emphasized the existence of an irreconcilable polarity between Aryan and Jewish cultures.[35]


See also: Fundamentalism


See also: Christian fundamentalism, Mormon fundamentalism, and Traditionalist Catholicism

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.[36] 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")."[37] The Atlantic slave trade has also been partially attributed to Christian supremacism.[38] 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.[39][40]


See also: Islamic extremism, Islamic fundamentalism, and Political Islam

Further information: Al-Wala' wal-Bara', Dar al-islam, History of slavery in the Muslim world, and Islamization

Academics Khaled Abou El Fadl, Ian Lague, and Joshua Cone note that, while the Quran and other Islamic scriptures express tolerant beliefs, there have also been numerous instances of Muslim or Islamic supremacism.[41] 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,[42] the jizya and rules of marriage in Muslim countries being imposed on non-Muslims,[43] and the majority Muslim interpretations of the rules of pluralism in Malaysia. 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.[44]

North Africa has had numerous incidents of massacres and ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians,[45] especially in Morocco, Libya, and Algeria, where eventually Jews were forced to live in ghettos.[46] Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted during the Middle Ages in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.[47] At certain times in Yemen, Morocco, and Baghdad, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face the Islamic death penalty.[48] While there were antisemitic incidents before the 20th century, antisemitism increased after the Arab–Israeli conflict. Following 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.[49] However, by the mid-1970s the vast majority of Jews had left Muslim-majority countries, moving primarily to Israel, France, and the United States.[50] The reasons for the Jewish exodus are varied and disputed.[50]


Main article: Jewish fundamentalism

Further information: Kahanism, Noahidism, and Religious Zionism

Ilan Pappé, an expatriate Israeli historian, writes that the First Aliyah to Israel "established a society based on Jewish supremacy" within "settlement-cooperatives" that were Jewish owned and operated.[51] Joseph Massad, a professor of Arab studies, holds that "Jewish supremacism" has always been a "dominating principle" in religious and secular Zionism.[52][53] Zionism was established with the goal of creating a sovereign Jewish state, where Jews could be the majority, rather than the minority. Theodor Herzl, the ideological father of Zionism, considered antisemitism as 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!"[54]

Since the 1990s,[55][56] Orthodox Jewish rabbis from Israel, most notably those affiliated to Chabad-Lubavitch and religious Zionist organizations,[55][56][57] including The Temple Institute,[55][56][57] have set up a modern Noahide movement. These Noahide organizations, led by religious Zionist and Orthodox rabbis, are aimed at non-Jews in order to convince them to commit to follow the Noahide laws.[55][56][57] However, these religious Zionist and Orthodox rabbis that guide the modern Noahide movement, who are often affiliated with the Third Temple movement,[55][56][57] expound a racist and supremacist ideology which consists in the belief that the Jewish people are God's chosen people and racially superior to non-Jews,[55][56][57] 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.[55][56][57] 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".[58][59][60]

In the aftermath of the 2022 Israeli legislative election, the winning right-wing coalition included an alliance known as Religious Zionist Party – a grouping of the Religious Zionist, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam parties.[61] Within the context of the 2019–2022 Israeli political crisis, this was the fifth legislative election in nearly four years, as no party since 2019 had been able to form a stable coalition.[62][63] Jewish-American columnist David E. Rosenberg said the Religious Zionist Party's "platform includes things like annexation of West Bank settlements, expulsion of asylum-seekers, and political control of the judicial system".[61] He further described the Religious Zionist Party as a political party "driven by Jewish supremacy and anti-Arab racism".[61]

See also


  1. ^ "Supremacist". Merriam-Webster. November 7, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Graham, Philip (2017). "Male Sexuality and Pornography". Men and Sex: A Sexual Script Approach. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–251. doi:10.1017/9781316874998.013. ISBN 978-1107183933. LCCN 2017004137. Patriarchal beliefs assert the "natural" superiority of men with a right to leadership in family and public life. Such beliefs derive particularly from Abrahamic religions. Patriarchal attitudes relating to sexual behaviour are mixed and inconsistent. They include, on one hand, the idea that as part of their natural inferiority, women are less in control of their sex drives and are therefore essentially lustful, with a constant craving for sex. This belief leads to the rape myth – even when women resist sexual advances they are using it merely as a seductive device. On the other hand, patriarchal beliefs also dictate that women, in contrast to men, are naturally submissive and have little interest in sex, so men have a "natural" right to sexual intercourse whether women want it or not.
  3. ^ Peggy Reeves Sanday, Female power and male dominance: on the origins of sexual inequality, Cambridge University Press, 1981, pp. 6–8, 113–114, 174, 182. ISBN 978-0-521-28075-4
  4. ^ Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus. London: Collins. 2006. ISBN 978-0-00-722405-0.
  5. ^ Humm, Maggie (1992). Modern feminisms: Political, Literary, Cultural. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-08072-9.
  6. ^ Cornell, Drucilla (1998). At the heart of freedom: feminism, sex, and equality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02896-5.
  7. ^ Takashi Fujitani, Geoffrey Miles White, Lisa Yoneyama, Perilous memories: the Asia-Pacific War(s), p. 303, 2001.
  8. ^ Boggs, James (October 1970). "Uprooting Racism and Racists in the United States". The Black Scholar. 2 (2). Paradigm Publishers: 2–5. doi:10.1080/00064246.1970.11431000. JSTOR 41202851.
  9. ^ Finkelman, Paul (2012). Slavery in the United States. Duke University School of Law. p. 116.
  10. ^ Paul Finkelman (November 12, 2012). "The Monster of Monticello". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  11. ^ "Facebook labels declaration of independence as 'hate speech'". The Guardian. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  12. ^ Out West. University of Nebraska Press. 2000. p. 96.
  13. ^ Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899–1903. Yale University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-300-03081-5. ...imperialist editors came out in favor of retaining the entire archipelago (using) higher-sounding justifications related to the "white man's burden.
  14. ^ 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."
  15. ^ "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question".
  16. ^ "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question".
  17. ^ "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."
  18. ^ 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."
  19. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877, Perennial (HarperCollins), 1989, pp. 425–426.
  20. ^ Nichols, William: Christian Antisemitism, A History of Hate (1993) p. 314.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Hecht, Jennifer Michael (2003). The end of the soul : scientific modernity, atheism, and anthropology in France. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-0231128469. OCLC 53118940.
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ "David Duke: Ideology". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  25. ^ "American Renaissance". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  26. ^ Duke, David. Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. Aware Journalism, 2007.
  27. ^ "Kevin MacDonald: Ideology". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  28. ^ Rider, Tiffany (October 6, 2008). "Academic senate disassociates itself from Professor MacDonald". Daily 49er. Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  29. ^ 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."
  30. ^ "Racism in Sudan". February 2011.
  31. ^ "Welcome To B'nai Brith". August 4, 2004. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  32. ^ Flint and de Waal, Darfur: A New History of a Long War, rev. ed. (London and New York: Zed Books, 2008), pp. 47–49.
  33. ^ a b The First Spring: The Golden Age of India by Abraham Eraly p. 313
  34. ^ The Haunting Past: Politics, Economics and Race in Caribbean Life by Alvin O. Thompson p. 210
  35. ^ Blamires, Cyprian; Jackson, Paul. World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia: Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc, 2006. p. 62.
  36. ^ Carol Lansing; Edward D. English, A companion to the medieval world, Vol. 7, John Wiley and Sons, 2009, p. 457, ISBN 978-1405109222
  37. ^ 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
  38. ^ Mary E. Hunt, Diann L. Neu, New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2010, p. 122, ISBN 978-1594732850
  39. ^ 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 978-0847685554
  40. ^ " – The Website of Political Research Associates". Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  41. ^ Joshua Cohen, Ian Lague, Khaled Abou El Fadl, The place of tolerance in Islam, Beacon Press, 2002, p. 23, ISBN 978-0807002292
  42. ^ Gareth Jenkins, Political Islam in Turkey: running west, heading east?, Macmillan, 2008, p. 59, ISBN 978-1403968838
  43. ^ Malise Ruthven, Islam: a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 1997, Macmillan, 2008 p. 117, ISBN 978-0-19-950469-5
  44. ^ Lewis, Bernard, The Political Language of Islam, p. 73
  45. ^ "The Forgotten Refugees – Historical Timeline". September 27, 2008. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  46. ^ Roumani, Maurice. The Case of the Jews from Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue, 1977, pp. 26–27.
  47. ^ "The Treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic Countries". February 19, 1947. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  48. ^ Bat Ye'or, The Dhimmi, 1985, p. 61
  49. ^ Lewis (1986), p. 204
  50. ^ a b Shenhav, Yehouda A. (2006). The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804752961 – via Google Books.
  51. ^ Ilan Pappé (1999). The Israel/Palestine question. Psychology Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0415169479. Whereas the First Aliya established a society based on Jewish supremacy, the Second Aliya's method of colonization was separation from Palestinians.
  52. ^ 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, Vol. 5, No. 3, 440–451, 2003.
  53. ^ According to Joseph Massad's "Response to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report" 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 says 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
  54. ^ Herzl, Theodor (1896). "Palästina oder Argentinien?". Der Judenstaat (in German). p. 29 [31]. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  55. ^ a b c d e f g Feldman, Rachel Z. (October 8, 2017). "The Bnei Noah (Children of Noah)". World Religions and Spirituality Project. Archived from the original on January 21, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  56. ^ a b c d e f g Feldman, Rachel Z. (August 2018). "The Children of Noah: Has Messianic Zionism Created a New World Religion?" (PDF). Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. 22 (1). Berkeley: University of California Press: 115–128. doi:10.1525/nr.2018.22.1.115. eISSN 1541-8480. ISSN 1092-6690. LCCN 98656716. OCLC 36349271. S2CID 149940089. Retrieved November 4, 2020 – via Project MUSE.
  57. ^ a b c d e f Ilany, Ofri (September 12, 2018). "The Messianic Zionist Religion Whose Believers Worship Judaism (But Can't Practice It)". Haaretz. Tel Aviv. Archived from the original on February 9, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  58. ^ Kress, Michael (2018). "The Modern Noahide Movement". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  59. ^ Staff, ToI. "Chief rabbi: Non-Jews shouldn't be allowed to live in Israel". Retrieved September 10, 2023.
  60. ^ "The Real Reason Intermarriage Is Bad for the Jews". Haaretz. Retrieved September 10, 2023.
  61. ^ a b c Rosenberg, David E. (October 30, 2022). "What Makes Israel's Far Right Different". Foreign Policy. Washington, D.C.: Graham Holdings Company. ISSN 0015-7228. Archived from the original on November 8, 2022. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  62. ^ Sagalyn, Dan (October 31, 2022). "Israel holds fifth election in four years as Netanyahu attempts to regain power". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  63. ^ Alsaafin, Linah; Najjar, Farah. "Israel election updates: Netanyahu set for comeback – Exit polls". Al Jazeera. Retrieved November 4, 2022.