- Authorities 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 inspired by a racist theory popular among white supremacists and the far right.
The “Great Replacement” theory states that white people are being replaced in their countries by people of color and that this will result in the extinction of the white race.
After the shooting in Buffalo, officials told news outlets they were investigating a manifest that belonged to the suspect, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York. Gendron was charged with first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.
The manifesto belonging to the suspect contained racist and anti-Semitic statements, described plans to kill black people and repeatedly referenced the replacement theory and concerns about white elimination, 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 indicates 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 in mosques. from New Zealand in 2019.
The attacks on Christchurch mosques 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 was being 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 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Authorities said the suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, had written a manifesto praising the Christchurch shooter. The manifesto also cited the “Great Replacement” theory and railed against a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States.
Two years earlier, in 2017, white supremacists participating in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, were caught chanting “They will not replace us” and “The 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 and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
The “Great Replacement” theory was once limited to white supremacists, but has become increasingly common, according to the ADL.
Replacement theory talking points have been shared repeatedly on Fox News in recent years, particularly from primetime host Tucker Carlson.
Carlson, one of the most popular voices on the right, has argued that Democratic lawmakers are purposefully “importing a whole new electorate” with “more compliant Third World voters” in an attempt to “dilute the political power” of Americans. .
Fox News has said that Carlson did not endorse the “white replacement” theory and was commenting instead, but his segments have been adopted by white supremacists.