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The Roundtable: Replacement Theory and the Buffalo Shooting

The Buffalo shooting brought the far-right ideology into the public eye. But are its alleged mainstream apologists responsible for violence in its name?

The May 14 shooting in Buffalo, New York took the lives of ten people at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The shooter explicitly claimed to be motivated by replacement theory, an ideology that posits that White Americans must act to prevent being demographically “replaced” by other ethnic and cultural groups. The theory, which originated in white supremacist circles, has grown increasingly mainstream in recent years. A group of experts joined Roundtable to discuss the ideology and its implications.

Cliff Schechter notes that the panic uses as fodder a real demographic shift.

“White Christians are a shrinking demographic in the United States,” he says, pointing out that the right has exploited that change to stoke fear. 

“The Rebpulican party has chosen since Donald Trump rose to quite outwardly represent white Christian nationalism. They weaponize this concept and make up conspiracy theories about caravans of people coming from Latin America to cross the border, Democrats, trying to bring in illegal immigrants to try to up their voting numbers. They have played to every white grievance they can think of.”

Matt Savoy cautions against generalizing the shooter’s motives too broadly.

“There's people that are claiming that everybody in the Republican part is praising the Buffalo shooting. The pitting of sides against each other is not doing anything to solve this problem of these mass shootings,” he says. 

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“I think that demonizing entire groups of people after a tragedy is not only dishonest, but it’s also furthering the problem.”

Watch the full discussion below:

Cliff Schechter, Commentator, Former Biden Ad Writer, and Host of The Takedown with Cliff Schecter

Matt Savoy, Co-Founder, The Free Thought Project

Sharon Kyle, Publisher, LA Progressive

Jim Denison, Denison Ministries