The murder of 10 people—who were mostly Black—at a Buffalo grocery store Saturday was a deplorable act of violence against folks who are already incredibly vulnerable. Payton Gendron—the 18-year-old white male terrorist responsible for the gruesome killings—drove over 100 miles to gun down innocent victims in a Black neighborhood.
He is not a lone wolf or someone who suffered from mental health issues. Gendron is a self-identified white supremacist who carefully calculated how to slaughter Black people to uphold an organized system of power. The fact is he justified his heinous actions through rhetoric found on right wing media platforms.
Through mouthpieces like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Through people like commentator Ben Shapiro. Through political figures like Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Governor Ron DeSantis. Through organizations like the Republican party. Through presidents like Donald Trump.
Their racist ideologies incite racist violence—which is why they all need to be stopped.
Most notably, “white replacement theory,” or the fear that white people are in danger of becoming this country’s minority, is the foundational framework of conservative pundits. And it’s the reason mass shootings—like the ones in Charleston, Pittsburgh and El Paso—are becoming more and more frequent.
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said on his show last year.
Gendron’s 180 page manifesto, which he wrote and published online before the shooting, echoed Carlson’s racism almost verbatim. On Monday’s MSNBC show TheReidOut, Joy Reid drew parallels between the two. “In his racist manifesto, which reads like a bad term paper by the way,” Reid said, “the Buffalo shooter asked, ‘Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength?
Does anyone bother to ask why?’ Okay, remember that now? Now listen to this from a 2018 Tucker Carlson segment. Just asking questions.” She then played a clip of Carlson stating: “How precisely is diversity our strength? Since you’ve made this our new national motto, please be specific as you explain it.”
This is why we must build walls to prevent immigrants from entering America. This is why white babies can’t be aborted. This is why voting rights are being taken away. This is why books and critical race theory are being banned. This is why Black people are being brutally murdered. Despite the horrific events in Buffalo, Stefanik is still using “white replacement theory” as the basis of her re-election campaign.
“Democrats desperately want wide open borders and mass amnesty for illegals allowing them to vote,” she wrote on Monday. “Like the vast majority of Americans, Republicans want to secure our borders and protect election integrity.”
Whiteness is defined by its ability to brutalize Black people and people of color. Christopher Columbus “discovered” America by murdering the natives that lived there. To make America’s economy profitable, Black people were stolen from Africa and brought to the country as slaves. Slaves that were beaten, mutilated and murdered.
Police forces were created to capture and terrorize Black people. The Ku Klux Klan was established to publicly execute us. Jim Crow laws were founded to disenfranchise Black folks—effects that are still currently being felt. We are being murdered on camera by police almost routinely and as of today, there have been over 200 U.S. mass shootings in 2022 alone.
There are an array of conversations to be had after Buffalo, including our desensitization to violence well as gun control. But one of the most pressing questions is: when will those who implore racism and hate for personal, political and financial gain finally be silenced?