A community in Buffalo New York has been rocked by tragedy after a gunman entered a local Tops supermarket and opened fire on the people inside.
Now, with an investigation underway and a trial set to take place, there are many questions left to answer.
How do things like this happen so much in this country, and how can we prevent such tragedies in the future?
The alleged Buffalo shooter believed that he was helping to save white Americans from being “replaced.”
The twisted reasoning that led Peyton Gendron to allegedly go on a shooting spree that would leave 10 dead and three injured in a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York begins with the notion that white people are being intentionally “replaced” by some international conspiracy.
Gendron wrote that while the Jewish people were a part of this “problem” they could wait, while “the high fertility replacers will destroy us now, it is a matter of survival we destroy them first.”
As evidenced by the choice of the target location and his stated intentions in the manifesto, Gendron seems to believe that these “high fertility replacers” are Black people.
But Gendron is not a lone wolf acting on some fringe conspiracy theory.
Payton Gendron has likely been influenced by ‘Replacement Theory’ that has made its way into mainstream politics.
To get to the root of the issue and understand where Gendron gets these cruel thoughts from you need not look too far right.
Tucker Carlson is one of the most influential speakers on the political right. His show is the most-watched show on cable television. And what do Tucker Carlson and an 18-year-old alleged domestic shooter have in common?
A fixation on replacement theory.
Fearmongering is very common in right-leaning politics in recent years and one of Carlson’s favorite topics to fearmonger about is the future of a white minority in America.
Carlson typically has defended and doubled down on his stance by saying that it’s actually an issue of protecting the “current electorate” from the addition of “new people,” whose votes would serve to dilute the current political power of Americans.
You know, just like what racists believed would happen when Black people finally received the right to vote.
The truth is that the people echoing Carlson’s points are trying to dress up a neutral, basic, natural fact of demographic shifts and population growth as a vast conspiracy aimed at making white people into an oppressed minority.
It’s painfully easy to see how this thought process arrives at the logical conclusion that Peyton Gendron found on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
If you are a white person who truly believes that there is a conspiracy to replace and, eventually, oppress white people with non-whites, then animosity toward non-white people is an inevitability.
Prominent Republican politicians also embrace ‘great replacement theory.’
In 2021, Representative Elise Stefanik came under fire for paid Facebook campaign ads in which she insinuated that Democrats are using immigrants to “replace” Republican voters.
“Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION,” says one ad that was paid for by Stefanik’s campaign.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has spread a similar ideology.
So some may brush it off when Tucker Carlson says something insane about conspiracies to replace white people, but it’s hard to ignore when an actual representative shares videos that say things like, “[an] unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists, and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation, with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands.”
The ideology ignores the fact that the path for immigrants to get voting rights in the U.S. is long and arduous. Instead, it exists to promote a discriminatory rhetoric that favors white voters.
Josh Mandel, an Ohio Republican politician who lost his bid for the Senate in 2022 has also espoused “great replacement theory.”
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“This is about changing the face of America, figuratively and literally. They are trying to change our culture, change our demographics and change our electorate. This is all about power,” he said to Breitbart in October 2021.
The notion that America is “literally” changing face, as Mandel explicitly states, wrongly assumes that America only ever had one face to begin with.
Instead of expecting the many, varied forms of American identities, these politicians insinuate that white voters should be protected above all else.
And, if you doubt whether that is what they intend their message to mean, look no further than Peyton Gendron’s manifesto.
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Dan O’Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.
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