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Semiticization

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Semiticization is a concept found in the writings of some racial theorists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.[1] The term was first used by Arthur de Gobineau to label the blurring of racial distinctions that, in his view, had occurred in the Middle-East. Gobineau had an essentialist model of race according to which there were three distinct racial groups: "black", "white" and "yellow" peoples, though he had no clear account of how this division arose. When these races mixed this caused "degeneration". Since the point at which these three supposed races met was in the middle-east, Gobineau argued that the process of mixing and diluting races occurred there, and that Semitic peoples embodied this "confused" racial identity.

This concept suited the interests of antisemites, since it provided a theoretical model to rationalise racialised antisemitism. Variations of the theory are to be found in the writings of many antisemites in the late nineteenth century. The Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg developed a variant of the theory in his writings, arguing that Jewish people were not a "real" race. According to Rosenberg, their evolution came about from the mixing of pre-existing races rather than from natural selection. The theory of Semiticization was typically associated with other longstanding racist fears about the dilution of racial difference, manifested in negative images of mulattos and other mixed groups.

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