- Officials said the attack on a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday was racially motivated.
- It marked the latest in a wave of attacks that were linked to the “Great Replacement” theory.
- The theory has become more mainstream and its talking points have appeared on Fox News.
A gunman opened fire and killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday in what authorities are calling a racially motivated shooting.
It was just the latest in a wave of mass shootings that were inspired by a racist theory popular among white supremacists and the far-right.
The “Great Replacement” theory claims that whites are being replaced in their countries by people of color and that it will result in the extinction of the white race.
Following the Buffalo shooting, officials told media outlets they were investigating a manifesto that belonged to the suspect, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York. Gendron was charged with first-degree murder and pleaded not guilty.
The manifesto belonging to the suspect contained racist and antisemitic claims, outlined plans to kill Black people, and repeatedly referenced replacement theory and concerns about the elimination of the white race, a federal official confirmed to The New York Times.
According to the manifesto, the location for the shooting was chosen because it had the highest percentage of Black residents near the gunman’s home, which was located hours away from the crime scene, authorities said.
The manifesto indicated the gunman was inspired by other mass shooters, including Dylann Roof, who killed nine Black church members during a Bible study session in South Carolina in 2015, and Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 people at mosques in New Zealand in 2019.
The Christchurch mosque attacks were also inspired by the white supremacist replacement theory, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Tarrant’s manifesto was called “The Great Replacement” and focused on his concern that white European society would be overrun by immigrants from Muslim and African countries. He said it could result in the “complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people.”
Later that year, a gunman shot and killed 23 people in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Officials said the suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, had written a manifesto that praised the Christchurch attacker. The manifesto also cited the “Great Replacement” theory and railed against a “Hispanic invasion” of the US.
Two years prior, in 2017, white supremacists participating in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, were captured chanting “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.” At the same rally, James Alex Fields Jr., an avowed white supremacist, drove his car into a group of anti-racism protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
The “Great Replacement” theory was once limited to white supremacists but has become increasingly mainstream, according to the ADL.
Replacement theory talking points have repeatedly been shared on Fox News in recent years, particularly from primetime host Tucker Carlson.
Carlson, one of the most popular voices on the right, has argued Democratic lawmakers are purposefully “importing a brand new electorate” with “more obedient voters from the Third World” intended to “dilute the political power” of Americans.
Fox News has said Carlson was not endorsing “white replacement” theory and was instead commenting on , but his segments have been embraced by white supremacists.
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