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Supremacism is the belief that a particular age, race, species, ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation, class, belief system or culture is superior to others and entitles those who identify with it to dominate, control or rule those who do not.
Feminist theorists have argued that in patriarchy, a standard of male supremacism is enforced through a variety of cultural, political and interpersonal strategies. Others note that this often has been balanced by various forms of female authority. Since the 19th century there have been a number of feminist movements opposed to male supremacism, partly working for equal legal rights and protections for women in all cultural, political and interpersonal relations, and partly arguing for scenarios of female supremacism, either suggesting historical forms of matriarchy, or arguing female supremacy in radical feminism, separatist feminism or political lesbianism. Marianismo is a different kind of "female supremacism", the idealization of female virtues on the part of males.
Centuries of European colonialism of the Americas, Africa, Australia, Oceania and Asia were justified by white supremacist attitudes. During the 19th century, the phrase "The White Man's Burden" was widely used to justify imperialist policy as a noble enterprise.
Following the American Civil War, a secret society, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in the South. Its purpose was to restore white supremacy after the Reconstruction period. They preached supremacy over all other races, as well as over Jews, Catholics and other minorities.
Cornel West writes that Black supremacy arose in America as a counter to white supremacism. Groups advocating some version of it include Nation of Islam, the New Black Panther Party, the Black Hebrew Israelites and the Bobo Shanti section of the Rastafari movement.
During the early 20th century until the end of World War II - the Shōwa era - the propaganda of the Empire of Japan used the old concept of hakko ichiu to support the idea that the Yamato was 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 referred to this concept of racial supremacy.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Adolf Hitler's German Nazi Party preached the existence of an Aryan master race and attempted to establish through conquest such an empire throughout Europe. They were World War II "Axis powers" allies of the Japanese empire.
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 in the ongoing War in Darfur has been described as an example of Arab racism.
Some academics and writers have alleged Christian supremacism as a motivation for the Crusades to the “Holy Land,” as well as for crusades against Muslims and pagans throughout Europe. The Atlantic slave trade has been attributed in part to it as well. The Ku Klux Klan has been described as a Christian, as well as a white, supremacist group. So are many white supremacist groups in the United States today.
Some academics and writers have alleged Muslim or Islamic supremacism. The Qur'an and other Islamic documents always speak of tolerant and protective beliefs which have been misused, misquoted and misinterpreted by supremacists and anti Islamic elements. Specific examples of how supremacists have exploited the name of Islam include 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 practised by some Muslim immigrants in Europe. Other writers posit a “poisonous, violent, Islamic supremacist creed” and that supremacism is inherent in a few Muslims as it is in all other religions as Supremacist emotion is human. Bruce Bawer alleges that Saudi Arabian princes have funded institutions to paint accusations of Islamic supremacism as “Islamophobic lies.” -†Needs to be verified in what context this has been quoted.
Zoroastrianism, an early monotheistic faith that influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was originated among a people who called themselves Aryans, including Persians. Friedrich Nietzsche's writings like Thus Spoke Zarathustra (another name for Zoroaster) were interpreted by Nazis as being a foundation for their ideas of the Aryan superman and white supremacism. Nazis also appropriated the symbol of the faravahar of Zoroastrianism.
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- 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."
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