​What is the racist 'replacement theory' that caused another US mass shooting?

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, May 20, 2022
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People attend a gathering to mourn for the victims of a mass shooting in Buffalo of New York State, the United States, May 16, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

On the morning of May 14, a racist man, no older than 18, stepped into a grocery store in a majority-Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, and shot 14 people with a semi-automatic rifle. 

Ten people died while shopping for groceries, and another four were injured. Eleven of the victims were Black. The terrorist had driven 200 miles to the site, which he had specifically scoped out. He chose the area because the population is 72% Black and just 1% white. 

What leads someone to want to drive three hours just to wantonly slaughter a dozen strangers? We know that America's easy access to murder weapons provides the means. But what depraved thoughts were going through the mind of this bloodthirsty thug? 

The gunman exposed his thoughts in a 180-page rant, laying bare his extreme racism. In it, he expressed his hatred of Blacks, Jews, Asians, and other non-white ethnic groups. On the flip side, he stated his love for Dylann Roof, Anders Behring Breivik, and other white supremacist terrorists who committed acts of mass murder elsewhere in the United States and Europe. 

According to the killer's unhinged ramblings, non-whites are committing "genocide" against white Americans by immigrating, being born, and simply existing. This is known as the "Great Replacement," which outlines how whites will be "replaced" by other races in time. This deplorable idea was shared by other racist terrorists like Roof, who killed nine people at a black church in South Carolina, and inspires other Neo-Nazis to engage in terrorism. 

Right-wing racists and extremists are by far the biggest threat in terms of potential terrorist attacks in the United States. According to a 2020 report by Washington DC think tank CSIS, "Right-wing attacks and plots account for the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of right-wing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years." 

But it is not just these gunmen who are responsible for advancing the racist ideas that breed terrorism. Many leading media figures in America and social media websites spread these same racist expressions, too. Broadcast regulators and media executives who make money off of spreading hate seem unwilling to do much of anything about it. 

Tucker Carlson, the flagship host of Fox News, whose show is made available to homes all across the U.S. every night, for example, has frequently expressed his agreement with the "Great Replacement" meme and his hate towards non-white Americans. 

Carlson stated on his Fox News show that "the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate with new voters from the third world." He has said multiple times, while speaking to his largely elderly white audience, "You are being replaced, and there is nothing you can do about it." 

This is the very same demented claim that these terrorists have said motivated them. They shoot Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians because they think there are too many of them. They believe the argument Carlson makes that whites are being "replaced," and they think they need to fight back. 

Since 9/11, the United States government has been in a frenzy about stopping Islamic-inspired terrorism attacks. They passed laws to make it easier to spy on mosques and international email communications. They invaded Iraq on the false claim that Iraq was supporting terrorists. Most American cable networks refused to carry Al-Jazeera English – which then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld smeared as "a mouthpiece of al Qaeda." 

But American cable networks continue to carry Fox News. Advertisers continue to pay to support Carlson and other instigators to spread terrorist propaganda. Most of their hosts attack immigrants, and many smear all non-white people. Laura Ingraham, for example, said, "Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people and they're changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don't like … This is related to both illegal and in some cases, legal immigration." 

Fox News is just one example, albeit an especially vitriolic one. Much, much more of this kind of radicalization is taking place online on websites like Twitter and 4chan. Elon Musk is talking about purchasing Twitter and making it even laxer in its standards towards racist hate speech. 

Time and time again, racist narratives have led to murderous plots. What is the U.S. doing to stop it? What would they do if it were white people who were being blamed night after night and put at risk of being victims of terrorism? 

Some countries have laws against hate speech. Some countries have media regulators. Some have societies that wouldn't tolerate such vile racism. Whatever it is – legal or social – there must be some reprobation for this kind of behavior. If there is not, it shows how much America values minority lives.

Mitchell Blatt is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


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