What is Great Replacement Theory? Buffalo killer's mass murder rationale
- A gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York Saturday
- The gunman, 18, posted a manifesto explaining his actions
- The manifesto referenced the Great Replacement Theory
The Great Replacement Theory, a white nationalist conspiracy theory, is once again in the news after the 17-year-old Buffalo shooter posted a 180-page document detailing his reasons for carrying out the attack that killed 10 people at a supermarket. The theory, in fashion in right-wing ecosystems in the US and other countries, posits the belief that Jewish elites are engineering the ethnic and cultural replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants.
What is the Great Replacement Theory?
The belief system posits that a cabal of political and business elites seeks to secure its power by keeping masses of non-whites indebted to them. The roots of the theory, according to a Reuters report, go back to early 20th Century French nationalism. The theory turned popular in recent years under the influence of French writer Renaud Camus, who stated that immigration from the Middle East and Africa will eventually cause the extinction of the native white European race.
White nationalists believe Jewish people are actively encouraging immigration of non-whites into the United States and Europe. The idea of a “white genocide” was one of the pillars of Nazi Germany’s ideology. It posited that Jews were the single-most dangerous threat to white civilisation.
How is the theory related to mass shootings?
Authorities have called the Buffalo shooting an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.” The attack was not by far a one-off, isolated incident. Similar attacks have become more and more common in the United States over the years. In 2019, in El Paso, Texas, a man gunned down over 20 people decrying a “Hispanic invasion” that he detailed in a manifesto explaining his actions.
The Buffalo shooting also has parallels with the 2019 mosque attacks in New Zealand where a gunman live-streamed the shooting and distributed a digital manifesto in support of his far-right views. The 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, sloganeered “Jews will not replace us,” in reference to this theory.