In the wake of yesterday’s white supremacist insurrection in the U.S., ‘supremacy’ is the word I want to re-examine today. And yes, it has everything to do with the language of business. 

In English ‘supremacy’ has meant ‘white supremacy’ in one way or another from the moment England claimed its first overseas territories.

Supremacy technically means – the condition of being highest in rank, authority or power. It literally signifies DOMINION. CONTROL.

But it has almost never been used in exactly that way.

In English, ‘supremacy’ refers exclusively to God and/or the Pope. Until 1534. When it is officially used to transfer power to – and in defense of – the English monarch as head of church and state.

And then promptly after in the late 1500s in defense of its first claims overseas, where overt economic plundering begins to be translated as ‘bringing civilization’ to ‘lesser peoples.’

By 1684, that defense is actively and exuberantly extended to “scientific” justifications (now called scientific racism) for institutional, colonial racism in the forms of physical anthropology – and a host of pseudo-disciplines that culminate in eugenics.

In other words … “supremacy” NEVER appears in our language to declare power. It is the word men use after power is secure in order to justify power gained through economic, religious, or military force.  

So in my estimation, the claim of supremacy can never have meant ‘inherent superiority.’ If it did, it could not be threatened.

Rather, supremacy means “We’re in control and we want to stay that way.”

Fuck White Supremacy.
That’s the word, bird.