White Supremacy

White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples classified as “non-White” by continents, nations, and peoples who, by virtue of their white (light) skin pigmentation and/or ancestral origin from Europe, classify themselves as “White.” Although history illuminates the fabrication, changeability, and contingencies of Whiteness (e.g. the case of Irish and Italians once being denied entry into the White “race”), it is important to note that this global power system is structured and maintained not for the purpose of legitimizing racial categories as much as it is for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege. Thus, it has been Whites who have constructed racial categories based on the economic, political, and social aspirations of Whites, for the benefits of Whites (L. Ross, 1995). In this way, Whites define who is White; a definition that has changed and will likely continue to change based upon the particular economic, political, and social conditions of the moment (e.g. the case of Egyptians now being classified as White when they were once classified as Arab, and previously as Black). It is clear then that White supremacy is based less on racial Whiteness (as evidenced by skin color) than it is on ideological Whiteness—the exclusive value assigned that involves “a series of immunities, privileges, rights, and assumptions…” This [value is] not inherent, natural, or biologically determined. Rather [it reflects] artificial beliefs created by social, economic, and political conditions” (L. Ross, 1995).

Yaba Amgborale Blay, “Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy: By Way of Introduction,” The Journal of Pan African Studies, (Volume 4, Number 4, June 2011): 6-7.

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