As we previously reported, Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old who shot and killed 10 Black people at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, expressed his belief in the “Great Replacement Theory,” in an online manifesto that he published before carrying out his horrific and racist massacre. We also reported that the theory—which insists that there’s an intentional effort to replace white people with Black and brown people in America in order to influence political elections—has been promoted by white conservative pundits and politicians for years.
The racist conspiracy has its origins in anti-Semitism but has since spread to Black and brown people, thanks to folks like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, former President Donald Trump and Texas Lt. Dan Patrick, who have all vehemently pushed the White Replacement Theory in one way or another.
So, while Republicans have been scrambling to defend the Second Amendment by blaming mass shootings on everything from rap music to video games to cannabis use, they’ve conveniently ignored one possible cause for mass gun violence besides the guns themselves: White nationalism.
Well, in April, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Tulchin Research conducted a survey “to examine the extent to which the extremist beliefs and narratives that mobilize the hard right have been absorbed by the wider American public.” Now, to be fair, the poll only included a sample size of 1,500 Americans. Still, the results are predictable and they indicated that the overwhelming majority of Republicans think white people are getting politicked out of their majority status and replaced by people of color. (Not that minorities are treated unfairly in America or anything, right?)
From the SPLC:
We found that the ideas underpinning the white nationalist “great replacement” narrative recently cited by an alleged white supremacist terrorist in Buffalo, New York, have become thoroughly mainstream on the political right. Nearly 7 in 10 Republicans surveyed agree to at least some extent that demographic changes in the United States are deliberately driven by liberal and progressive politicians attempting to gain political power by “replacing more conservative white voters.”
Can we just acknowledge that this “theory” is essentially an admission by conservatives that their ideology relies on whiteness to thrive? Because that would be a startling admission coming from a political party that scoffs at the idea of systemic racism and the implication that Republicans represent an “old white party.”
But the biggest takeaway here is that a majority of conservative Americans share a “replacement” belief with an alleged white supremacist who, as of Wednesday, has been indicted on charges of domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 counts of first-degree murder.
But they don’t want to talk about that any more than they want to talk about the link between guns and mass shootings.