In the first place, it should be called white-male supremacy, as Rep. Steve King, who supports the racist “The Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, is pointing out with his belief in the necessity for rape and incest. The only reason it isn't is that those who imposed white supremacy on the people of the Earth in the 17th century assumed the domination of women by men was a settled matter and a foregone conclusion. While there was great struggle over the question of whether the US would be a country where slavery was legal, there was never any question that it would be a society based on patriarchy. That being said, Southern slavery would change nature of patriarchy forever.
Although patriarchy and misogyny obviously pre-dated the invention of the white race, and white supremacy by thousands of years, the capitalist development of patriarchy would be powerfully influenced by the various sexual, reproductive, family, and marriage practises developed along with Southern slavery. So many of today's headlines find their roots in the US slave economy. For example, the relative acceptance of Trump administration's practise of separating immigrant children from their parents, is one result of a culture that regularly separated African American, and Native American children from their parents whenever there was money to be made by doing so, as is the case now. It was also generally considered “legitimate” for a plantation master to take sexually any female slave as young as fourteen, if that rings any bells. But I digress. That is not the topic of this essay.
The first Great Replacement
first known literary reference to “white people” as a race took place in England on 29 October 1613, when an actor in blackface, playing the role of an African king, looked out over his English audience and said “I see amazement set upon the faces/Of these white people, wond’rings and strange gazes.” in a performance of Jacobean playwright Thomas Middleton's “The Triumphs of Truth,” it wasn't used in any law until 1691. That was in a Virginia law titled “An act for suppressing outlying Slaves.” In the intervening 80-plus years, culminating in the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705, the “white race” was invented, largely in the Maryland-Virginia areas of colonial North America. It was invented in the slave-holding colonies of Virginia and Maryland, and then exported to Europe, and the rest of the world. Even as late as 1680 Morgan Godwyn, “found it necessary to explain” to their European readers that “white people” was the new term for Englishmen or Christians over here.
The cobbling together of all the fair-skinned Europeans from England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Russian, etc. into a new synthetic so-called racial grouping could be called the first “Great Replacement,” in that all those individual cultures and heritages, some dating back thousands of years, became submerged and diluted in the new synthetic “white culture.” This change was not easily accepted by many, so a certain amount of coercion was involved. Hence, the growing use of “white” to define people in law after 1691, first as a synonym for “Christian” or “English,” and eventually as a replacement for them. Increasingly, to vote, to own land, to exercise the ordinary rights of citizenship, the light-skinned colonial American had to renounce his French, German, Irish or English identity, and declare himself “white."
Context1607 First permanent British settlement founded in Virginia, North America
1619 The London East Amazon Company is created
1619 Circulation of blood is discovered
1620 Puritan Pilgrim Father establish colony in New England
1652 Dutch establish first colony in South Africa
1652 Dutch establish colony (present day New York) in North America
1660 Royal Society (scientific organization) founded in London
1664 New York taken from Dutch by British
1670 Britain establishes Hudson Bay Company in Canada
1682 French claim large territories in Louisiana
1687 Sir Isaac Newton publishes his "Principia"
1687 Lloyds of London insurance company established
1694 Bank of England founded
Nor did this “Great Replacement” confine itself to the living. It insisted on rewriting history, so that in all the books going forward, the history of all sorts of people who never called themselves “white,” or even cared about skin-color, such as the ancient Greeks and Romans, where posthumously declared “white,” and their history plagiarised as “the history of white people.”
The “white race” was invented once the colonial rulers decided that plantation labor shortages could best be met by importing African laborers to work as slaves. Prior to that, these North American plantations were unique in relying mainly on European labor, mainly indentured servants, but also some wage laborers, increasingly so as servants ran "out of time.” In this period, white supremacy was also born, as an inseparable part of the fraudulent application of the label “white” to a group of people for the purpose of dominating other people. Fraudulent, because as the “color” of sunlight, white carried with it intrinsically positive values for ten thousand years before it was self-applied to a group of people that, although light-skinned as compared to others, aren't really white. Paradoxically, the application of the label “white” to some people, happened at the same time (1666-1672) Isaac Newton, was proving that so-called “white” light, was really composed of all the colors of the rainbow.
White supremacy means the white man is the master of the universe
When it came to kidnapping Africans and bringing them to America, the argument was that the white plantation owners had the “right” to enslave Africans because they were sub-human, but when it came to removing the native peoples from their land, the argument was that they had a right to land that was uninhabited by other humans, and the since they have declared the current inhabitants sub-human, they had a right to the land, and everything on, or beneath it. This was the reasoning behind everything from the first Jamestown expansions, to the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and Manifest Destiny.
This is why white supremacy isn't just toxic for people of color, it is toxic for the Earth
From the beginning, land take from the native peoples was used to get the poor and laboring class Europeans to buy into white supremacy. While the wholesale adoption of African slavery was a solution to their plantation labor problem, and defused the “dangerous” situation created when European and African bondsmen revolted together, at the same time it improvised many of the now unemployed, but newly “knighted white” workers. It became routine to defuse this situation by telling the young men to “go West, young man, go West” to serve on the bleeding edge of the struggle to confiscate new native lands. Since, such privileges where typically, by law, afforded only to white people, those that could join the white race, were forced, over time, to do so.
Rudyard Kipling's “The White Man's Burden” (1899) wasn't just a call for white men to rule people of color, it was a call for the US to build an empire. It was a call for white men to rule the world. A week after the poem was published, the US Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris. as a result the U.S. established geopolitical hegemony upon islands and peoples in two oceans and in two hemispheres: the Philippines and Guam in the Pacific Ocean,Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Atlantic Ocean.
From the beginning, not only did white supremacy as an outlook set white men in destructive opposition to humanity as a whole, it also became the outlook that was used to justify the most ruthless imperialist exploitation of the Earth. Their belief in their own omnipotents, not only with regards to people of color, but with regards to nature itself, leads to the conclusion that climate change isn't a problem, at least not one that can't be resolved by population reduction.
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