Natalia Marques Race

Massacre in Buffalo Exposes Rotten Core of White Supremacy in US

After a white supremacist shooter murdered 10 Black people in Buffalo, many have pointed to the institutionalized racism behind the attack.
The Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in the Cold Spring section of Buffalo, New York, as seen on a February 2022 afternoon. (Photo via: Andre Carrotflower) 

By Natalia Marques / Peoples Dispatch

On Saturday, May 14, white supremacist Peyton Gendron drove 200 miles from his home in Conklin, NY, to open fire in the only supermarket in the Black neighborhood of East Buffalo. Gendron killed 10 people and injured three. 11 of the 13 victims were Black people. Gendron, who was armed with a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, was wearing body armor, a military grade helmet, and a head-mounted camera, through which he livestreamed the entire massacre on Twitch. Although Twitch removed the stream, the gruesome video is still circulating on the internet.

This massacre is not an isolated incident. Crimes of this nature have been increasing in number. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics from 2020 registered the highest number of hate crimes in over a decade. Nearly two of every three hate crimes reported in 2020 were motivated by race, according to the FBI. 

More significantly, the massacre can be viewed not only as an example of white supremacist violence, but as a microcosm of US white supremacy itself. The deep scars of segregation, eugenics, xenophobia, anti-semitism, and racism are reflected in this crime from beginning to end.

A self-proclaimed racist

In his own words, the shooter was motivated by racism. His 180-page so-called manifesto, much of it copied directly from the Christchurch shooter’s own manifesto, details his descent into racist extremism:

“Before I begin I will say that I was not born racist nor grew up to be racist. I simply became racist after I learned the truth.

I started browsing 4chan in May 2020 after extreme boredom…There I learned through infographics, shitposts, and memes that the White race is dying out, that blacks are disproportionately killing Whites, that the average black takes $700,000 from tax-payers in their lifetime, and that the Jews and the elite were behind this…We are doomed by low birth rates and high rates of immigration…I didn’t care at the time, but as I learned more and more I realized how serious the situation was…perhaps there is a chance that we can combat this. Maybe there is a chance that we can take control and prevent our genocide.”

Gendron directly cites other white supremacist terrorists like Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine Black people in a church, and Anders Breivek, a Norweigian anti-immigration terrorist who killed 77 people, as inspiration for the attack. Gendron wrote a few of the names of these killers directly on his assault rifle, including several racial slurs and derogatory phrases. While Gendron carried out his massacre as an individual, he traces his actions to a long tradition of white supremacist terrorism. 

Great Replacement Theory

Where exactly does this tradition come from? The 180-page “manifesto” refers repeatedly to a right-wing conspiracy named the “Great Replacement Theory”. Great Replacement Theory claims that elites (sometimes specified as Jewish elites) are deliberately depopulating the white race by bringing in people of color through immigration, racial integration, and low white birth rates. This theory has been referenced by other shooters in their respective manifestos such as Patrick Wood Crusius, who murdered 23 people in El Paso, Texas in 2019 in a shooting targeting Latinos. 

Extremist racists believe that the end goal of the “great replacement” is to eliminate the white race. The “white genocide” conspiracy theory makes similar claims. The popular white supremacist 14-word slogan, which Gendron also referenced by writing “14” on his rifle, is a call to arms for white people to defend their race from such replacement: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” 

White supremacist groups, who were emboldened to unite openly in the infamous 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, shocked the nation with images of white men chanting “Jews will not replace us!” Heather Heyer, 32-year-old anti-racist protester, became a casualty of this rally when neo-Nazi James Alex Fields drove into a crowd of protestors. 

Recently, mainstream news outlets such as FOX News and Republican politicians have also begun promoting “Great Replacement Theory” with a watered-down conclusion: that Democrats are deliberately changing the ethnic demographics of voters in order to win more votes. Implicit in this are the longstanding fears of white supremacists that white people will go extinct in the US. 

Political commentator Tucker Carlson of FOX has been especially vulgar, stating on his show, “in political terms, [the Democrat’s] policy is called the ‘Great Replacement’, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.” Republican politician Elise Stefanik has released campaign ads claiming that Democrats want a “PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION,” and are planning to “grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.” Many have begun to place blame on FOX News and GOP politicians for mainstreaming the hateful rhetoric that inspired Gendron.

The ancestors of “Great Replacement”

While FOX News and the Republican Party are certainly gaining political points and a dedicated audience from their promulgation of Great Replacement, they are not generating new ideas from scratch. As writer and cultural critic Michael Harriot wrote, “In a sense, the ‘great replacement theory’ is just a new name for the [US] white majority’s longstanding fear that their power and authority will eventually be usurped by a non-white majority.” Many of the most notorious racially-motivated massacres in US history, such as the Tulsa massacre of 1921 in one of the wealthiest Black neighborhoods by disgruntled whites, or the attack on Black voters in 1866 in New Orleans, were motivated by this fear. 

The day after the massacre in New Orleans, the front page of the New Orleans Times-Picayune read

“If there is any question as to who constituted the dominant population of Louisiana, we think it is now settled…and the sooner the negroes learn this, and learning it, reject and cease to follow the unwise counsels of the restless leading men who are only leading them to their ruin, the better. Let what will come, of this they may be assured, the white races of Louisiana will remain masters.” 

The idea of “great replacement” or “white genocide” was popularized in part by eugenicist Madison Grant, author of the book “The Passing of the Great Race”. In this book Grant wrote, 

“Neither the black, nor the brown, nor the yellow, nor the red will conquer the white in battle. But if the valuable elements in the Nordic race mix with inferior strains or die out through race suicide, then the citadel of civilization will fall for mere lack of defenders.”

Eugenics, or the ultra-racist set of theories and practices aimed at eliminating “undesirables” from the gene pool in favor of politically dominant groups like white people, can be seen as an earlier version of Great Replacement Theory. Eugenicists were paranoid that people of color, disabled people, and other marginalized groups were “sullying” the human, or specifically the white race by reproducing. 

Eugenics was no fringe theory. Some of the world’s wealthiest, like the Rockefellers and the Carnegies bankrolled the practice of eugenics, funding German Nazi eugenicist scientists like Josef Mengele. 

In the United States, the theory of eugenics resulted in one of the greatest national tragedies: the mass sterilization of Puerto Rican, Black, and Native American women by the state and the medical system. This sterilization is still being practiced today in places like the Irwin county detention center in Georgia, where immigrant women recently underwent coerced hysterectomies.

If eugenicist practices are still being carried out by the state, and “Great Replacement Theory” is being promoted by mainstream media and politicians, one must wonder how “fringe” white supremacy truly is in US society. 

Racism made the massacre easier to carry out

Gendron, like many US white supremacists who carry out massacres, was not shot on sight by police. Instead, police carried out “deescalation” tactics, peacefully detaining Gendron. Police reacted the same way to Dylann Roof, going as far as buying him a burger when he said he was hungry. This stands in stark contrast to the treatment of Black people by US police. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black people are almost 3x more likely to be killed by police than white people.

In response to a reporter’s comment during a press conference, about how if the shooter had been Black, he would not have been alive, the Buffalo police commissioner made the excuse that Gendron did not point his gun directly at officers. On the other hand, 12-year-old Black child Tamir Rice was killed for playing with a toy gun, which he did not aim at police. Cases like Tamir’s, in which unarmed Black people are executed by US police, are too frequent to list in this article, but notable examples include George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Eric Garner.

Other factors of institutionalized racism played a role in the shooting. Socialist activist India Walton, a Buffalo native, in an interview with Democracy Now pointed to the deep-seated history of segregation as a key part of this massacre. 

“There is a broader conversation that has to be had, right?” Walton said. “The former fire commissioner’s mother was in that grocery store because it is the only place for Black folks to shop on this side of town, right? So, this is not only a question of a lone actor who is a white supremacist; it is a conversation that has to be had and a policy that has to be made to undo the systemic harms that have been caused by a structure of white supremacy that has not only permeated the United States of America, but it also has trickled down into cities just like Buffalo. Like, you know, we know that 80% of the population of the East Side of Buffalo are people of color, are Black people specifically, and they have one place to shop. And now they have zero places to shop, because we don’t know when our grocery store is going to open back up on the East Side.”

The Tops grocery store is the only grocery store in the Buffalo’s East Side. Before Tops, the area was a food desert, with little to no places to buy fresh produce, a phenomenon all too common in communities of color in the US. Walton calls this ‘food apartheid’: “It is a policy decision. Deserts are naturally occurring, and the fact that there is no food on the East Side of Buffalo and there’s not the availability of these basic services is a policy choice.”

The existence of only one grocery store in the East Side made it all too easy for Gendron to commit a massacre. In his manifesto Gendron admits not only to targeting the zip code for its Black population, but had even researched when the neighborhood’s grocery store would be the busiest.

If FBI statistics are to be believed, white supremacist hate crimes are on the rise. Furthermore, as proven by Gendron’s own words, these shooters inspire each other. As progressive activist Nina Turner wrote on Twitter, “Reminder: white supremacy isn’t mental illness—it’s upheld and reinforced systemically in this country. America cultivates this.” 

13 comments

  1. “Imagination is everything. It’s the preview of life’s coming attractions”. Einstein

    ‘Societal cohesion is fragmented, political threats are divided and each demographic by race, culture, religion and especially by gender is channelled according to ‘The Party’s’ predetermined Orwellian roles’.

    This is why the Depp travesty is as sociopolitically motivated to agitate just as has the SCOTUS move to overturn Roe v Wade. Both of which themselves sit against the backdrop of inescapable #MeToo and vastly ‘invisible’ US/UK militarism propaganda. Timing is everything.’

    ‘The Depp Travesty: Judgement Day – If You Tolerate This…’ (2022) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-387

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (*free download*)

    1. What, so mentally ill women will replace all egomaniacal untouchable Hollywood actors…kind of like the Great Replacement Theory–but just sexist instead?

      That red pill might have just been a sleeping pill so you wouldn’t write such incel trash. Enjoy your couch and TV, Sadsack. Pathetic disgrace of a man.

      LONE WOLF ALERT!!!

  2. I think you’ve got that wrong. that’s not white supremacist violence that’s white severely fucked in the head weeping failure and essentially crippled perpetually underdog feeling violence. Lashing out like a crying child from inner feelings of utter bereft.

    Not saying there’s anything at all good about it. Not at all.

    Just saying that’s what you’re looking at.

    A white supremacist is calm and collected, keeps himself together, doesn’t engage in suicidal madnesses: all of that has nothing whatever to do with a white supremacist or – and this is the point – any other supremacist.

    If you hate whitey then in a sad sort of way you could rejoice or perhaps at least find a tiny measure of consolation in seeing the truth: it is possibly an indication of the deterioration of ‘white culture’; certainly not an indication of the flourishing or burgeoning growth, the strengthening of it.

    It was a clear demonstration of a weakness. Not strength, wasn’t it?

    And not at all necessarily by a ‘white’ despite all the evidence apparently pointing that way. Because in fact it was the production first of an insane human being who happened to be ‘white’. So though, as I say, it could be seen as evidence of the weakening of the white ‘regime’ it might not be so: it might have nothing to do with the white regime at all, just hiding under that cloak while being in fact merely a human statistic.

    Supremacists can be found everywhere. The ‘white supremacist’ movement actually performs and talks as though the only supremacists in the world are white. A childish and unthinking notion; take on reality.

    Especially silly, you might say, in societies close to the ancestral tribal social organisation for those are almost entirely built on the question of ‘supremacy’.

    That was the natural way throughout the w hole human world for millennia. Rooted in the clear validity and efficacy of ‘might is right’ the mighty man or the mighty tribe or the mighty nation became supreme, naturally, and rule home, tribe, nation or nations.

    And what’s more to the point: felt itself to be ‘supreme’ in innate nature and that’s the psychological mindset of ‘supremacy’, isn’t it; when that happens.

    So everywhere in the world we get kinda ‘swaggering’ groups that think themselves superior and, by rights, ‘supreme’.

    And nowhere more so than in primitive tribal societies.

    Hence the near descendants of such should be well aware of the ubiquity of ‘supremacy’ and not fall prey to thinking it is purely a ‘white’ thing.

    But they don’t seem to be aware and they do seem to think it is only a ‘white’ thing while at the same time kow-towing amongst themselves to all the powerful ‘supreme’ groups and individuals in their own sphere, without for a moment recognising what they’re doing.

    I guess the reason for that is simply that when your world, your closest, your intimate, your inner world, is all supremacy based from top dog neighbourhood gang to top dog richest man via top dog most ruthless criminal then you just can’t help seeing the world in terms of ‘top dogs’, the ‘supreme’.

    When all you’ve got is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

    i.e. what they’re doing is investing the exterior world, the ‘white world’ (though it is anything but white in reality) with the attributes of ‘nail’ because it is a hammer than can’t do anything else.

    The exterior world is not supremicist. But it is supreme. For everyone, anywhere, the external reality is pragmatically ‘supreme’. Not necessarily optimum or even desirable but certainly supreme; has power over you to make you comply with it. It will not comply with you, essentially, is the problem. It is stronger than you.

    So that world is supreme but that doesn’t mean it is inhabited by supremacists.

    That’s the false assumption.

    Because you wander around with a mindset full of supremacy issues you think so does everyone else. Being born into a society of carefully graded and recognised ‘supremacy’ levels – like pecking orders in chickens – you think that’s the mindset of all you see.

    How could they be supreme without being supremacists you say to yourself.

    For you know damn well you’d be a supremacist in their position.

    The clear dismal fact is that the vast majority of any ‘supreme’ culture feels anything but supremacist, feels more likely put upon put down, unfairly treated, overly hard working, under remunerated, not sufficiently intelligent and essentially a failure in life.

    All steps on the way to the kind of insanity that occupied the mind of that man.

    A mindstate that was really, regardless of anything it may have professed, anything but ‘supremacist’.

  3. The state cares nothing about white supremacy, least of all how it affects common people, except how this mass shooting propagandized by mass media will provide opportunity to further its fascist agenda, from surveillance of free speech for ‘hate speech’ to predictive policing of the general population for ‘domestic terrorism’. Who will protect us from ourselves but Big Brother?

    On another front of divide-and-rule discord, the DHS has issued warning of extremist violence by pro- as well as anti-abortion groups should SCOTUS follow through on ‘leaked’ plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. Leave it to this leader in disinformation to cue the public for precisely the kind of threat that makes its day as it advances insecurity in the Homeland.

    As history has demonstrated, the rule of law consists of such crime against humanity as eugenics. But in the United States of Amnesia (Gore Vidal), the new eugenics of the biosecurity state, extending its tyrannical rule by any means necessary, remains obscured by unremitting strategy of tension to drive us into the state’s protection rackets for class supremacy.

  4. Several things are clear:

    First, gun control is a joke. Black people and other minorities and all progressives need to arm themselves and learn how to use weapons.

    Many communities need to form defensive militias and train themselves in military skills. There are vets who can help with this.

    Learn from Fred Hampton’s assassination, leaders should never sleep in the same place on any regular basis, they should keep their movements scrambled. There will be infiltrators and provocateurs: deal with them effectively without falling into th self-destructive paranoia that is their purpose.

    Progressive Caucasians have a large role to play, infiltrating and putting bull’s eyes on dangerous racist individuals and groups. The impotent Biden thoughts and prayers Blob and Garland will do nothing to squash a large mob of racist whites, They fear them — not us.

    There will be a lot of US-supplied small arms and one and two-person weapons on the loose in Ukraine, which is corrupt. There’s an Al Qaeda force there already g-harvesting some of these. Get some.

    The progressive community must start to act to free this leader and empower his group.

    https://www.thetrace.org/2021/10/nfac-black-militia-grandmaster-jay-prosecution/

    Weenies will squeal that he’s a ‘separatist.” Well, national liberation wars agains racist capitalism must be won before the world’s people can start to remove nationalist sentiments,. Malcolm was on his way to doing that when Hoover had him killed. His blood still cries out for retribution and justice.

    The war has been underway for decades now.

    So far, the left has done little but die and cry.

    Time for a basic change.

  5. Lest the likes of Tucker Carlson and his cohort of admirers, inclusively, whoever they be forget, the United States of America itself, in fact, epitomizes the original “great replacement” for it is the exceptional nation of ‘white’ European imports.
    No ‘white’ Europeans are the indigenous peoples of the Americas! ‘Short-term memory’ well describes the American mindset on the subject of race relations, and perhaps explains Americans’ reputed short attention spans.
    Yeah, yeah… figment of imagination!
    Just who/what are “legacy Americans”? It seems that the self-opinionated, newscaster/provocateur, creates his own neologisms; as he goes along.
    Talk about the insinuations in weaponizing the language we use; either to communicate and cooperate, or to divide, in order to maintain the extant systemic rules!
    In the American imagination, history first began with the founding of the United States. Perhaps this also explains the so deeply entrenched religious fundamentalisms, which contain no factual history, but rather rely on monotheistic biblical myths.
    The actual citadel of civilization lies in Asia, the East, (depending, of course, on who writes the story, and who draws the maps) which the West has plundered, in the name of its form of humanity and civilization since time immemorial, yet today, once again, by proxy, it is actively in the throes of attempting to eradicate.

  6. On Tuesday, three days after a fascist gunman shot and killed 10 people and wounded three others at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, President Joe Biden attributed the massacre to the prevelance of “hate” and “evil” in the United States, which explains nothing and serves to cover up the actual social and political forces behind the attack.

    The Democrats are incapable of mounting any opposition to the growing threat of fascism because what they fear most is the growth of social opposition from below and the break-up of the institutions which have long served to suppress it, above all, the two-party system. They seek to conceal the transformation of the Republican Party into an openly fascistic political organization, devoted to the restoration of Donald Trump to the White House as an authoritarian ruler.

    The Democrats, who joined hands with the co-conspirators of Trump to wage war against Russia, are wary of undermining unity with their “colleagues” behind the war effort. A significant component of the Ukraine war is the financing, arming and media glorification of the Azov Battalion, which is a genuine fascist movement in Ukraine, led by anti-communists and anti-Semites.

    The racialism of the far right is also ideologically legitimized by the racialism of the Democratic Party, which has insisted every social problem in America arises out of irreconcilable racial conflict in order to suppress any discussion of the far more fundamental class divisions.

    The key to breaking the back of fascism, racism and anti-Semitism is precisely the unleashing of the immense social power of the working class, breaking through the barriers enforced by the Democrats and the unions. The expansion of the class struggle will open the way to socialism.

    Learn more about the SEP,

    https://www.wsws.org/en/special/pages/sep/us/home.html

  7. Talk about a White Supremacist Mass Shooter. Listen to this war criminal:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/george-w-bush-misspeaks-on-russian-invasion-calling-ukraine-iraq-during-speech/vi-AAXt35G

    Musings, meanderings, and thoughts about life and current events from Peace Mom, Cindy Sheehan

    Garbage Human Confesses to Mass Murder: W. Makes Epic Freudian Slip?

    Cindy Sheehan/ May 19

    (Speaking of Putin): “The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq…I mean, Ukraine.” Mass-Murderer, George W. Bush

    It’s no secret that I am not a fan of George W. Bush.

    In 2003, after the 2001 U.S. invasion and destruction of Afghanistan, the unelected regime of George W. Bush, in a display of shocking and awful extreme military force, invaded Iraq.

    After growing up with the trauma of Vietnam, I knew that the president of the U.S. was a figurehead for the Military Industrial Complex, but since my son Casey was killed in Iraq over 18-years ago, I have become even more convinced that war is the entire reason for the existence of the U.S. Of course, the corrupt politicians also pass out favors to other businesses, especially big pharma. However, in the 21 years since 9/11, the criminals at the top, have become so entwined, they look like a Gorgon’s Knot of symbiotic rot.

    George W. Bush was born into a very wealthy family filled with garbage “human-beings,” and his willing complicity in the “War OF Terror” has put millions of souls on his conscience (including Casey’s), and the longer he lives, the heavier those crimes become.

    Garbage George with his greed, weakness, and cowardice, sentenced me to a life in a prison of pain. Many survivors of violence get their day in court to see justice for their loved ones: What I get is seeing this garbage human live a life of comfort, safety, and ease.

    Like I said, the POTUS is just the rubber-stamping P.O.S. for the war machine, but imprisoning them for war crimes and crimes against humanity might make them think twice before launching their illegal and immoral wars.

    Thanks for reading Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox

  8. The government and police are not going to stop these people.

    Of course, they stopped Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, MLK (you think James Earl Ray acted alone?).

    These racist propagandists and organizers need to be eliminated by the people. Those with investigatory, military, intelligence gathering and other skills need to organize and do the work.

    The police in many areas are already infiltrated with these white nationalists, not reliable.

    Progressive Caucasians have a large role to play, infiltrating and putting bull’s eyes on dangerous racist individuals and groups. The impotent Biden thoughts and prayers Blob and Garland will do nothing to squash a large mob of racist whites,

    They fear THEM — not us.

    Gun control is b.s. — the nation already is heavily armed.

    Black people, minorities and all progressives need to arm themselves and organize, neighborhood protection squads.

    The progressive community must start to act to free this leader and empower his group.

    Black People Formed One of the Largest Militias in the U.S. Now Its Leader Is In Prosecutors’ Crosshairs.
    The Not F—ing Around Coalition exploded in popularity at the height of 2020’s protests against police brutality.

    https://www.thetrace.org/2021/10/nfac-black-militia-grandmaster-jay-prosecution/

  9. Dear mrs. Marques,
    i deeply despise your simplistic reduction of these events. Had you taken any time to actually do journalism and look into the matter, like e.g. Glen Greenwald did (https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-demented-and-selective-game-of?s=r), you may have found, that Fox news and Carlson are most likely NOT who influenced the misguided Mr. Gendron.
    This is an unworthy opinion piece, disguised as an article, that plays with the readers emotional reflexes und is in effect nothing but a lengthy twitter post.
    Shame on you.

    1. Get over your love of three face Greenwald. Irrelevant.

      The latest mass shooter in Buffalo, New York was clearly a racist, and identified with Ukrainian and other neo-Nazis. But white supremacy has a stronger hold on European and U.S. society than is commonly acknowledged. The avowed racist is not the only problem.

      The incidents of mindless, mass carnage in the United States have become so routine that they do not even make national headlines unless the incident has a potential attention-grabbing twist. One of those dramatic twists is when the victims of a mass-shooting are from a common social identity and the perpetrator appeals to be motivated by hatred of the targeted group. This is what makes the shooting in Buffalo stand out. The authorities could not hide the fact that it was a hate crime and the media saw a juicy story, if only for a day or two.

      However, for those of us who are members of communities and peoples who are increasingly finding ourselves on the receiving end of state and private racially motivated violence, we have a life-or-death requirement to attempt to understand the complex political and socio-cultural elements that are producing this dangerous environment.. This understanding is not academic but represents a historical imperative for our communities and peoples in order for us to survive the end-days of global white supremacy.

      It is important that we understand that the racist assault on the Black community in Buffalo did not occur in a socio-cultural or political vacuum. The premeditated murder of thirteen human beings, eleven of them Black, by a young white man wearing a sonnenrad or black sun, one of the symbols of white supremacy that the white supremacists wear in Ukraine, had a perverted logic perfectly consistent with the values of the U.S. settler-colonial project. And while the liberal, white supremacist settler corporate press tries to muddle-up the connection between the Buffalo shooter and Ukrainian white supremacists, we must make the connection, including the attempts to obscure the relationship by the media, and we must be clear on its political implications.

      Good stuff, and more here:

      https://www.blackagendareport.com/new-white-supremacist-consensus-part-two-shootings-buffalo-solidify-consensus

  10. Frank R. James was a blk supremacist but like most of them he was a lousy shot–read some of his posts–the press buried him fast–you wont hear of him again –https://heavy.com/news/frank-r-james/

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