Home > Uncategorized > The Buffalo shooter and the poison of white supremacy – posted 5/22/2022

The Buffalo shooter and the poison of white supremacy – posted 5/22/2022

Among the extremely upsetting aspects of the Buffalo domestic terror shooting is the news that a great many Americans accept some version of the great replacement theory, the ideology espoused by the Buffalo shooter. That theory holds that elites are attempting to destroy the white race through systematic replacement by non-white groups.

In a new poll, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found one in three Americans believe in some variant of replacement theory. The theory had been fringe. The poll appears to indicate it is much more widely accepted by the American public.

The great replacement theory is often framed as anti-immigrant because they are the supposed replacers but in the case of Buffalo, the shooter blamed black people.The shooter argued genetics, white superiority and black inferiority. Somehow, he convinced himself that the threat to white people was so dire it justified mass murder.

Fear of whites becoming a minority in America along with fixation on white birthrates and white fertility consumed him. He maintained there is a genetic basis for the racial IQ gap. He also argued there is a genetic basis for higher rates of crime committed by black people.

His belief system led him to drive three hours to a largely black zip code he did not know and shoot complete strangers. He killed ten people and wounded three.

In his writing, the shooter also argued that blacks were not intelligent enough to engineer the replacement of whites. He blamed the Jews as the masterminds behind replacement. He said Jews control academia, the media and industry. He connected Jews to child abuse and pedophilia. Finally, he argued that Jews were behind both the NAACP and Black Lives Matter.

I do wonder, given the rural area where the shooter lived, if he had ever had any kind of personal contact with a black person or a Jewish person in his life. He became a fascist through internet browsing. He said he was bored during the pandemic. His goal was to kill as many black people as possible.

There is no great mystery in how replacement theory became popularized. It used to be circulating very narrowly among white nationalists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis. Then cable TV, especially FOX and Tucker Carlson picked it up, sanitized it and mainstreamed it. Carlson doesn’t talk about Jewish cabals but the message is essentially the same. Instead of a Klansman in a robe, you have a very respectable-looking preppy wearing a suit.

The replacement theory is now talking points for all kinds of Republican candidates.

The New York Times investigation of Carlson identified more than 400 episodes of Carlson’s show where he pushed core principles of great replacement theory. Carlson reframed the issue as voter replacement. He has argued that President Biden weaponized immigration as a political tool to strengthen Democrats and weaken the power of white people.

There is little question that white nationalists love Tucker Carlson. Carlson remains extremely popular. His show remains the most watched cable news show for American adults between 25-54. In his book Rising out of Hatred, Eli Saslow showed how white nationalists consider Carlson one of their own because of his ability to carry their message into the public space like no one else.

It is a mistake to conflate the Buffalo shooter’s actions with mental illness. The shooter was meticulous in his planning and execution. As with the other white supremacist mass shooters in New Zealand, Pittsburgh and El Paso, a warped ideology drove him.

CNN reported the shooter had studied previous hate attacks and shootings. He had visited the Tops supermarket in early March and then again the day before the shooting. He had considered attacking a church or elementary school but chose a supermarket because of the number of people that go to grocery stores.

He looked to Google’s “popular time” graph for the Tops supermarket to figure the best time for his attack. He planned the attack for the time the store would be busiest so he could shoot the most people.

Rather than mental illness, I would locate the Buffalo shooting inside the context of American history. The great replacement theory is not new. Since the very beginning of America, there has been a struggle between the forces committed to the preservation of white power and those fighting for multi-racial democracy.

The Buffalo shooter is part of a deep-seated tradition of racism and white supremacy that goes back to the earliest days of the republic. The founding generation created a white republic. Democratic ideals were compromised by accommodation with slavery.

The three-fifths clause of the U.S. Constitution declared that for purposes of representation in Congress enslaved blacks would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. The three-fifths clause remained in effect until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.

Ironically, the best argument for great replacement can be made by Native Americans. The country was founded on genocide and extermination of indigenous people. White people have been the replacers of Native Americans.

Along the way in American history, those committed to preservation of white supremacy have a formidable track record, using law and violence. I think of Dred Scott and the Supreme Court saying “Black people have no rights which the white man was bound to respect”. After Reconstruction, there was Jim Crow and the lynching of over 4000 African Americans.

The twentieth century featured the battle against racial segregation. Many white people persistently attempted to maintain white power. For example, Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo wrote a book in 1947 titled Take your choice: separation or mongrelization. An influential racist, Bilbo was a senator from 1935 to 1947. He claimed he was not prejudiced but he argued that he would rather see his race blotted out with an atomic bomb than destroyed by interbreeding and intermarriage.

I submit that the recurrence of mass murders committed by white supremacists is best addressed through anti-racist education in schools. Young people need to understand the harmfulness of white supremacy. Opposing critical race theory and education about racism is moving in a completely wrong direction. We need anti-racist education to counter the online white supremacists who target and prey on young people.

The Buffalo shooter’s half-baked ideas need to be confronted and refuted. There is no white genocide or imminent collapse of white people. Nor is there any replacement. Change is a constant but the Buffalo shooter’s ideas were a product of ideological delusion. Demographic change is not “an invasion”.

President Biden was right when he called white supremacy “a poison”. Experience shows that the “grooming” we should be most concerned about is the online grooming of young people into hateful white supremacists.The Buffalo shooting was a modern-day lynching. It is way past time for the horrifying practice of lynchings to end.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jlewandohotmailcom
    May 22, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Powerful. Thank you!

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