White supremacy

Disclaimer: This dictionary term is meant to act as a red-blue translator to help you understand how people of different political stripes use, think, or feel about the same word or phrase. The Red Blue Dictionary is not meant to provide a concrete, final definition of hot-button words, but rather, to help people better understand one another.

The term "white supremacy" is often levied at those who are accused or suspected of believing white people are superior to other races - with a corresponding desire to dominate society and have control over people of other races. Until recently, the meaning of this term was fairly black-and-white, and it was widely understood what it meant and didn’t mean. Lately, however, the term has been applied to a wider spectrum of activities, behaviors, and patterns in society. Similar to the way in which “racism” has expanded in its use cases, “white supremacy” now refers to much more than a belief in racial superiority.

In recent years, “white supremacy” has been used in reference to prioritization given in society to certain styles of language and speech, manners of dress and appearance, titles and names of cities and places, attitudes and beliefs, and other cultural elements. Certain elements of the Bible and the Christian faith itself have also been labeled as reflecting “white supremacy.”

This more expansive usage has generated new resistance from those participating in and valuing some of the practices and belief systems connected with or deriving from European peoples (or European-descended peoples) that are now labeled as “white supremacist.” That has led to new accusations in the other direction — with critics arguing that “white supremacism” has become yet another slur used for the advancement of a left-wing agenda and to suppress and silence dissent or those who are defending European culture and ideals. As such, the term has been caught up in America’s culture wars, like many other terms.

Contributors: 

Jacob Hess, Julie Mastrine, John Gable, Henry Brechter, Joseph Ratliff, Arthur Peña, John Backman

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