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White supremacists follow a doctrine that believes in the superiority of the white race over races of color. This view moves beyond prejudice by claiming that the white race is “supreme” above all others and, as such, should have power over nonwhite groups. The bigotry of white supremacists has expanded over time, targeting groups for other reasons than race (e.g., homosexuals).

One of the earliest and most influential racist thinkers was Joseph Arthur comte de Gobineau, a 19th-century French writer and diplomat. His fourvolume Essay on the Inequality of Human Races professed that the white race was superior over all others and that Aryans (i.e., the Germanic people) were at the pinnacle of it. Gobineau theorized that a civilization's fate is determined by its racial composition ...

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