My Black perspective on the Buffalo Race Massacre and Payton Gendron, of Conklin, NY, is that he had been radicalized by unchecked culture and social media all in the name of ‘free speech.’
An 18-year-old white supremacist, barely old enough to vote, got into a vehicle and drove over 200 miles to a predominately Black community in Buffalo, New York, to commit an act of domestic racial terrorism.
The White teenager, who would have been seen as a grown-ass man — had he been Black, entered the parking lot of a neighborhood grocery store, parked his car, and began opening fire on innocent civilians. Three people would lose their lives before terrorist Payton Gendron entered the TOPS grocery store, the sole big box store for miles that fed the community’s food desert.
As if shooting four people wasn’t enough to satisfy his severe anti-Black appetite, he entered TOPS and continued his massacre.
Gendron streamed live on Twitch’s social media platform so the White mob could virtually live out their long-lusted fantasy of unprovoked vigilantism against Black bodies.
A White civilian is seen begging for his life on the ground while in a fetal position on the stream. He lets out a shriek that only a person whose eyes’ see death could. Gendron, pointing his gun at the defenseless man, apologizes and continues haunting Black victims with the word n*gger etched on the nose of his AR-15, with inscribed writings paying homage to Mother Emanuel AME Church shooter Dylan Roof and others.
Aisle after aisle, Gendron strategically points his gun at each of his Black victims’ faces and pulls the trigger repeatedly. Also etched onto his gun: “Here’s your reparations!”, “Buck status broken”, and “#BLMmogged”.
Even the security guard, a former cop, who probably thought his only job was ‘overseeing’ the majority-Black shoppers in the White-owned grocery store, was no match for this domestic white terrorist.
Gendron was well-prepared, dressed in tactical gear, body armor, and a military helmet as if arriving fresh off the Ukrainian-Russian war battlefield or a U.S. Capitol hill insurrection coup attempt. He went on a violent, deadly rampage with that same energy.
His deranged thinking has been shaped by American culture for nearly 400 years before his birth. Ever since, it’s been stroked by racist right-wing ideology and media — through commentators like Tucker Carlson and personalities like America’s 45th President, Donald J. Trump. Show after show, rally after rally, white supremacists peddle racist ‘replacement theory’ fears to White Americans that if they don’t begin to “fight like hell,” they are going to lose everything.
Lose what? White Americans have the most because they’ve taken the most. And even when there’s nothing left to take, they take our lives.
Violence is the consequence when White Americans continue being soft on white supremacy rhetoric. Whether it is at the kitchen table, office, or even a church, too many White people stay silent when White family members, co-workers, or pastors say something mildly or wildly racist.
There will be more Buffalo Massacres with more casualties.
Hence, it is past time for White people, especially on the political Right, to speak up and physically act.
Our multicultural Democracy depends on their bravery, and our peril will be because of their cowardice.