‘Replacement’ rants are dangerous

The alleged shooter left behind a 180-page manifesto that rails about 'replacers' — the far-right fantasy that white Americans are being intentionally 'replaced' by people of color to steer politics leftward

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Editorials

May 17, 2022 - 4:05 PM

People embrace outside a Tops market on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. A gunman opened fire at the store Saturday, killing 10 people. (Scott Olson/Getty Images/TNS)

Once again, the truism that hate speech fosters violence has been tragically reconfirmed, this time in Buffalo, New York. A white supremacist’s rampage Saturday that killed 10 was fueled by so-called replacement theory, the far-right fantasy that white Americans are being intentionally “replaced” by invaders of color to steer politics leftward. As Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and top Republicans continue to toot this anti-immigration dog whistle, the bloodshed in Buffalo shows how easily it can translate into attacks on anyone who isn’t white.

Payton Gendron, 18, allegedly shot 13 people — 11 of them Black — at a supermarket in a Black Buffalo neighborhood. Gendron, now in custody, is believed to have written a 180-page manifesto describing himself as a white supremacist and anti-Semite. It rails about “replacers” — defining them not just as immigrants but also Black Americans — and laments that they “invade our lands, live on our soil, live on government support and attack and replace our people.”

“Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength?” Gendron wrote. As The New York Times pointed out, the question is almost verbatim what Carlson asked viewers in a 2018 segment of his show: “How, precisely, is diversity our strength?”

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