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I’m blaming this latest mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, where 10 Black people were murdered in a hate crime, on Republicans. 

To explain the shooter Peyton Gendron’s motive, media is pointing to “white replacement theory”. And while I somewhat agree with that assertion, ask yourself who perpetuates this concept in policy, practice and rhetoric? Republicans do.

First, white replacement theory (Great Replacement) is this idea that “…through immigration, interracial marriage, integration, and violence, and at the behest of secret forces orchestrated by ‘global elites’ or Jews, white people are being disenfranchised, disempowered, and pushed out of ‘white nations’.” This is what prompted the Buffalo shooter to kill as many Black people as possible.

Quick PSA for all of the white people who believe they’re being replaced by Black people: Blame your forefathers. They’re the ones that brought us here–against our will. And sure, America may have been considered a white nation at its founding but, who built it? Black people did. Not to mention, there were tens of millions more Indigenous populating the continent than there are today, thanks to genocide by white settler-colonists.

Republican Senators attack Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Photo credits (left to right): Josh Hawley: Greg Nash/Pool via AP, Marsha Blackburn: Stefani Reynolds/AP, Mike Lee: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File

Republicans continue to push fear and hate

Now that that’s out of the way, back to these hate-dealing Republicans. Their stances on critical race theory, gun reform, and  things they’ve said has green-lit hate.

Republicans have weaponized the term “critical race theory” to win votes and scare parents into thinking that hate, shame and inferiority will be taught in schools–all in an attempt to keep hiding America’s “secret shames” and preserve white supremacy and privilege.

This fear campaign has led to an avalanche of bills introduced across the country to ban conversations about race in schools. What these bills actually do is bar truth and representation in history, diminish empathy for Black people and our struggles and cause divisiveness. 

The Buffalo shooter had just graduated from high school. I don’t know what he was taught, but perhaps if there weren’t such stringent restrictions on classroom conversations about diversity, inclusion and humanity imposed by Republicans, maybe he wouldn’t have turned out to be hate-filled, mass murdering trash.

GOP objections to Emmett Till Act says more about them than us
From left to right: Republican Reps Chip Roy (Texas), Andrew Clyde (Georgia) and Thomas Massie (Kentucky). All three voted against passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. (Associated Press)

Republicans also refuse to budge on meaningful gun reform legislation

Last year, Payton Gendron was investigated by the New York State Police for saying he wanted to commit murder/suicide. Although he was evaluated for two weeks and released, he was still able to purchase guns and ultimately carry out the supermarket shooting in the predominantly Black, Buffalo community.

Everytown for Gun Safety notes that some people convicted of hate crimes can still legally buy and own guns. This is absolute absurdity to the average, sane American and especially to people that have lost loved ones to hate crimes. But to Republicans lining their pockets with National Rifle Association money, a few hundred innocent victims in exchange for reckless policy – or no policy at all –  isn’t a big deal.

Silence is violence

And finally, their talking points and actions/inactions embolden white supremacists.

This week when called on to denounce white replacement theory, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell despicably – but not surprisingly – dodged that opportunity to tell supremacists to stand down.

Some of them won’t even testify in investigative proceedings around the January 6th Insurrection. Y’all know the old saying “silence is compliance”, right?  Well, Republicans refusing to publicly rebuke the acts of those home-grown terrorists sends a message that attacks on American democracy in order to save white supremacy is OK.

And of course Donald Trump has used language that feeds into this Great Replacement theory nonsense. He said, “demonstrators who wanted to take down Confederate statues were ‘people who don’t love our country’.” We know who he’s referring to when he says “our”. 

As Tops remains closed in Buffalo, a food desert re-remerges
Buffalo Police on the scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. JOHN NORMILE/GETTY IMAGES

Calling BLM protestors “thugs and anarchists” and calling the insurrectionists and Proud Boys “patriots” affirms this false notion of superiority and a white savior complex in people deceived and enchanted by racist rhetoric.

He also blamed “illegal immigrant voters” for his 2020 presidential election loss in the tweet that ultimately got him banned from Twitter.

So look, if we have to blame anybody for this rise in hate crimes and specifically, the one in Buffalo, it’s Republicans. They’re not directly telling racists to go out and kill, but their policy positions and talking points are. 

If we are truly tired of the hate, the killing, the discord and political manipulation, the white supremacy has to go.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

5 replies on “Republicans are to blame for the Buffalo hate crime massacre”

  1. MAGA radio regularly rails against the Floyd street demonstrations with Hannity’s lying daily about 500 riots two summers ago. Actually almost all were peaceful demonstrations. Yet he says every demonstration was violent. My town, San Rafael, is on his list. There was absolutely no violence at all in our marches. He lies all day and all night. Besides he is a committed racist. Hannity started every show for a year detailing how Travon ended up on top and was the aggressor when he was murdered for walking to the store. The statistics are clear only 4% of political violence comes from the left, The other 96% if political violence is from three groups all from the right. Racists and anti-Jewish groups. Anti-government groups, and MAGA violence including attacks on family planning clinics. Don’t let your friends get this wrong because of Fox Not News lies daily about the demonstrations two years ago.

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