In moments like this, it’s not hard to reflect back on the number of times that we’ve had to pray for Justice.
But prayer without works is dead.
On Saturday, May 14, white nationalist Payton S. Gendron maliciously opened fire at the Tops Friendly Markets grocery store on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York, a predominantly Black neighborhood. Out of the 13 people who were shot, 10 were killed, three were injured, and out of that 13, 11 of the victims were Black.
Dating back to the days of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and Jim Crow, American life has been a never-ending cycle of violence perpetrated by white supremacists against Black people and other marginalized groups. What happened in Buffalo was not a random, idiosyncratic act; it was a gut-wrenching, emblematic mnemonic of how America has continued to hide from its own hate-filled, ugly, and monstrous history.
This is not a time to ask Black people to forgive this heinous act, but a time for white America to work on eroding white supremacy, and the effect it has on Black people and other people of color around the world.
What that 18-year-old radicalized hate-monger did is an ongoing and dangerous problem. From the bombings that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rosewood, to the mass shootings that occurred in El Paso, Texas, and a church in Charleston, South Carolina, over and over again, we have seen horrendous acts of violence carried out and justified based on the deranged paranoia that white people are an endangered species as long as there are non-white people around; and any change in the ratio of white people to the other-i.e. Blacks, Jews, immigrants, etc.- is a clear indication that the global plot to eliminate the white race is approaching its goal.
This “white replacement theory” which prompted the Buffalo, New York shooter to carry out this mass shooting, is not a new concept or justification for violent, racist, and xenophobic terrorism; in accordance with an article published by the New York Times, the French author Renaud Camus formulated the term “the great replacement” in a 2011 book to recount what he saw as a conscious effort by French elites to open the county’s doors for Muslim immigrants to replace the ethically French population. This theory has since been adapted and used by extremists around the world and is evident in the manifestos that have been left behind by the assailants of these mass shootings.
In his 180-page manifesto, the shooter contended that he blamed Jews for orchestrating the replacement of white Americans, but contrastingly, his manifesto is infused with racist remarks and slurs about Black Americans. As stated in an article published by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in the New Yorker, “In a search of archived posts beginning in 2021, the word “immigrant” appears twelve times, “replacement” eighteen times, ‘replacer’ twenty-two times, but ‘blacks’ and the N-word each appear a hundred times.”
The shooter claims he pulled inspiration from the white supremacist who murdered fifty-one worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, and just the same, the Christchurch shooter also recorded the massacre and left a manifesto.
Even though theories such the white replacement theory, is becoming newly popularized and newly mainstreamed by the biggest names in conservative media, like Tucker Carlson, these theories are not new and archaic; they are rooted in antisemitic ideology.
The white replacement theory specifically, was popularized by neo-Nazi David Lane in the mid-1950s, and held that white people were being replaced by minorities and that the perpetrators behind the so-called replacement were Jewish. This fanatical theory has birthed out of it numerous deadly racist and antisemitic attacks in the United States and around the world, with most recent being at Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
Once again, this country is at a paramount point in its history, and we will not let our national political leaders, specifically the GOP, just offer “you all are in our thoughts and prayers,” or “we condemn racism and violence,” and let them move on. We will hold them to the fire, and we will not rest until we have federal legislation for voting rights and civil rights.
REST IN POWER TO TOPS GROCERY STORE BUFFALO, NEW YORK VICTIMS:
Celestine Chaney, 65
Roberta A. Drury, 32
Andre Mackneil, 53
Katherine Massey, 72
Margus D. Morrison, 52
Heyward Patterson, 67
Aaron Salter Jr., 55
Geraldine Talley, 62
Ruth Whitfield, 86
Pearl Young, 77