Broadcasted extremism adds to the problem
May 16, 2022
The shooting in Buffalo was an act of racist extremism, but the same sentiments that are held by the shooter are also given airtime within the American right, just in a more palatable way.
The Buffalo shooter is aligned with The Great Replacement Theory, an extremist belief that people of color are “replacing” the influence of white voters in the United States. Conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson has spent significant time talking about this belief, and gone as far as to say that liberal immigration policies are there in order to gather more blue votes, and “replace” white conservative ones.
Disguising these extreme beliefs as political commentary creates legitimacy for far-right extremism, and the online communities that host these views, like the ones the Buffalo shooter was a part of.
The shooter’s internet activity and previous behavior shows that he had a fascination with previous racist rampages, inspired by the replacement theory.
Hate groups lurk in the dark corners of the internet, knowing that they are being watched, but when watered-down versions of their sentiments are being broadcasted on live television available to any American, and when members of our electoral bodies are spewing their messages, they will not go away, they will only grow. But, stopping hate will not fix the damage that has been done, and stop future harm to communities of color.
We grieve with East Buffalo, but if the nation’s attention only comes after massacres and tragedies, what help are we giving the communities that are targeted by hate groups and even current commentators and politicians?
Communities that suffer from systemic racism and segregation, that the nation only turns its eyes to when they get shot up as a result. Don’t think racism in America is only white supremacist mass shootings like Buffalo. Racism in America still permeates deep into political discussion, national attention, and individual views that wouldn’t even be categorized as extreme.