“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy, which has engulfed the Negro community, must not lead us to a distrust of all white people. For many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.”Martin Luther King Jr.
Supremacism: A belief that one group of people are superior – The supposed superior people are defined by the following: age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, social class, ideology, nation or culture, belonging to a particular population.
When we start putting one race, one group of people in the forefront and start blaming another race or group of people for the downfall of society, we run the risk of supremacism.
Supremacism throughout history.
Unfortunately Supremacism goes back thousands of years, The Greeks thought that anyone who wasn’t a Greek was a barbarian. It simply wasn’t the case, but, that was their assertion. They believed only Greek Lives Mattered. The height of the Greek civilization ended when it fell to Rome in 146 BC.
Then Rome became the superpower, However if you weren’t a Roman if you did not speak Latin you were a barbarian and consequently, you were looked down upon. There were five barbarian tribes – The Goths or the Visigoths, the Franks, The Huns, The Vandals and the Saxons. By 64 AD, there were so many people that were in the Roman Empire that a friend of the Emperor Nero and a poet said that Rome was populated by its own citizens and the scum of the earth (mostly Asians, Greeks and Jews).
“The Yi should never covet (the territory of) the Xia and disturb (the culture of) the Hua. (Huaxia culture was so superior that) even a Yi-Di society with a king was lesser than a Xia society without a king.”Confucius
Europe was not the only place where supremacism was prevalent: China also had the same issue. There were five regions in China, the central region or Zhonyuan this is where the economic and cultural center of China was; the people called themselves Huaxia – meaning big and beautiful. People to the east were Yi, the people to the west were Rong, northern people were Di, and southern people were called Man. According to Huaxia, anyone that was not Huaxia was a lesser person.
It was thought that if a person moved from any of the other areas to Huaxia, they would be Huaxia – so for instance if a person moved from Yi to Huaxia, and they followed the customs, rituals and education they would be Huaxia. Conversely, if a person moved from Huaxia to Yi, they would be Yi and would be looked down upon, even though they were from Huaxia.
Nazi Germany under the leadership of Adulf Hitler was the most vocal and the most damaging. His idea of supremacism was that there was a superior race. The Aryan race was based on Nortic traits: Tall, blond, and blue eyes. If you did not have these attributes, you could not be part of the Aryan race; this meant that Jews and Moslems, Blacks, Asians were despised. However, Adulf Hitler blamed the economic problems on the Jewish people, stating that they keep getting fatter, while the rest of Germany starved.
Once he was in power, the Jewish people were rounded up and put into concentration camps and made to work with little food and little clothing – some were murdered in the camps, and many of the Jewish prisoners were killed immediately upon arriving at the camps. If you want to read a heart wrenching account of Auschwitz, read Viktor Frankl’s book: Man’s Search for Meaning.
Hatred has been the ruling force in America for hundreds of years, creating ill will and harsh treatments for those who don’t fit into the mold that this society has created. In America we have, for too long, had one ruling class, and even though that class has been primarily white: White is not the class I am speaking about, it is the class of the rich.
This class of the wealthy are not of a specific color, not of a specific gender, not of a specific ideology. Yes they worked hard – some of them. Some of them had humble beginnings, but when they reached the top of the hill, they forgot from whence they came. The rich run the country, the rich control the media, the rich influence public safety. So when there are riots – when there is violence in the street, the only people that are truly affected are the working class individuals – men and women trying to put food on the table. The ones in control are not affected at all.
There isn’t white privilege – at least I have never felt privileged: my children – who are white – were harrassed by police. I have been passed over for jobs and promotions because I was the wrong color and the wrong sex. If you aren’t of the upper class, you have nothing in this society.
One group of people that were persecuted harsher than any other race in American history were Indigenous People of North America. We have invaded their country, taken their land from them, killed them indiscriminately, their language and traditions were stripped away and in some cases – lost forever. We tried to make them conform to the “White” way of thinking; we took away their names and gave them “White” names.
They were moved to lands that were inhospitable – far away from their homes. They have been called savages and we killed them savagely. The Indigenous People are still looked down upon in many areas in the United States today, we look at their rituals as foriegn and antiquated. They are still shut away, because it seems that their lives don’t matter.
Lately the Black Lives Matter movement has taken hold. This movement asserts that only Black lives matter, but once again that is supremacism. This was born out of violence towards Black people, and it became a battle cry. Black people were not feeling that they were being listened to, and in some cases I believe they are correct. However, It is insinuated that if a person says that all lives matter – that they are in fact taking away the voices of black people. I am not opposed to what black people say, I am not opposed to black people at all. However, to elevate one race above another still is supremacism.
I do believe that black people – all over the world and not just in the United States – have been discriminated against for hundreds of years. Black people have been looked down upon as inferior and not intelligent; this is an overgeneralization and a despicable assertion. You can make the same declaration about any race: however, it doesn’t make it so.
But just because black people have been misjudged and mistreated for hundreds of years it doesn’t mean they don’t matter – I believe black people do matter very much, but not at the expense of other races.
One hundred and fifty eight years ago the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and we still have an issue between Black and White citizens in this country. Whites have been the major contributors of supremacism in this country. I, as a white male, am horrified by how whites have treated every segment of society in this country. If someone has a different skin color, a different accent, a different ideology, they are discriminated against.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”Martin Luther King Jr
When it all comes down to what is needed in this life, what we all should aspire to a life of peace – no matter your race, no matter your sex, no matter your sexual orientation, no matter your religeous preferance. We should not look at the color of the skin, we should not look to the congregation that someone belongs to. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, our destinies are tied together. We need to look at every person White, Black, Asian, Latino, Native American as equals: We need to look at Men and Women as equals. I want my grandchildren to live and love in the dream of Dr. King.
The Race Problem of the Roman Empire/Martin P Nilsson/ Cambridge University Press/July 9, 2010