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The historical myth of white supremacy

Melvin B. Miller
The historical myth of white supremacy
“Man, I don’t know how they could be the supremacy of anything!”

Bigoted protesters at the pro-confederate rally in Charlottesville, Va. last September openly espoused support for the concept of white supremacy. They were equally disparaging of Jews. In support of racial and religious equality, fair minded Americans opposed the violence and bigotry of the Richmond protesters. However, there was no assertion that the concept of white supremacy is historically invalid.

Many of the early immigrants to America came from Western Europe: areas now known as Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and Great Britain. In 100 B.C., the residents of that part of Europe were primitive, warlike tribes. Julius Caesar was sent from Rome as a consul and military general to suppress tribal invasions into Italy and to extend the influence of Rome, his written account of the battles, which ended in 51 B.C., is entitled “The Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar.”

Roman society was highly evolved at that time. Romans were great engineers. They built roads which are still serviceable, bridges, aqueducts and public buildings of architectural beauty. In early Europe there was no literary or architectural heritage among the ancestors of American immigrants. Roman cultural progress had also developed from Greece, another Mediterranean nation, that was considered by some scholars as a major progenitor of Western civilization.

Centuries earlier, when Northern Europe was truly primitive, the Greek philosophers Socrates (470-399 B.C.) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) held sway in Athens, which was then the center of civilization. Far from being simply literate at this time, Aeschylus (524-456 B.C.), Euripides (480-406 B.C.) and Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) were developing the forms of theatrical drama that survive to this day.

At the height of Greece’s ascendancy eons ago, the level of civilization among the progenitors of America’s future immigrants in Europe was primitive. In ancient times, Greece’s colonization policy was based upon the concept of Hellenization. The focus was to promote the adoption of Greek culture while accepting the ethnic diversity of the population. That is quite different from the Richmond protesters’ assertion of white supremacy that discriminates on the basis of race.

If achievement is the primary criterion for the white supremacy standard, then there is absolutely no justification for animosity against the descendants of the Hebrews. Since biblical times, Jews have excelled in every aspect of human endeavor — science, art, classical music, philosophy, medicine, literature, and commerce and industry. In addition, the Old Testament of the Bible has also been accepted by Christians.

The hostile attitude of Charlottesville protesters to African Americans is difficult to understand. There has never been a history in America of black racial violence against whites. What could trigger such white hostility?

Whoever thought, after reading Julius Caesar’s account of the Gallic Wars, that a great civilization would have developed from those barbaric tribes in Europe? This achievement required many centuries to accomplish, but it bears witness to the divine capacity of human groups to build and create (1 Genesis: 26-28).

There is no authority for one racial group to have perpetual dominion over another. And there is no historical evidence of white cultural superiority. The concept of white supremacy is merely a disdainful delusion of bigots in search of an artifice to extol their own limited status.

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