On CRT and White Replacement Theory
By Tadhg Kwasi
18th February 2023
It’s 2022 and the failed portions of America are still wilding out. Roe v Wade has been proposed to be repealed, replaced by propositions of archaic and absurd anti-abortion laws in numerous states. But after another anti-black mass shooting, what should’ve been correctly labelled terrorist attack, inspired by White Replacement Theory, it is time to analyse the panic over CRT (Critical Race Theory), and take a deep dive into what this all actually means.
On May 14th 2022, a white gunman charged into a supermarket in a black neighbourhood of Buffalo and open fired, leaving ten people dead, and all while livestreaming the whole event. In the end, police cornered him with he eventually being persuaded to lower the gun from his temple as he was about to end his own life.
Here’s the known facts: the suspect was nineteen years old, and heavily armed and armoured to the point that his vest blocked a bullet by the store security guard who he then killed. The suspect also wrote a near-200-page manifesto of white nationalist, anti-black conspiracy theories prior to the attack. Undoubtedly inspired by the alt-right and the Christchurch shooter, the suspect’s goal was to kill as many black people as possible. His manifesto contained a version of White Replacement Theory, the view that a group of global elites are trying to destroy or dilute ‘white nations’ through a systematic replacement of their populations. The gunman’s theory was anti-black with roots stemming back to Jim Crow and lynching, coupled with the usual antisemitism of the far right. His manifesto also included several arguments for a genetically based racial IQ disparity as well as for, ironically, rates for violent crime. According to the shooter’s ideology, black people are not intelligent enough to orchestrate the replacement of whites and the destruction of their civilisation, and so he blames their evil accomplices – the Jews.
This same theory directly influenced the Christchurch shooter, who also livestreamed his massacre.
The Great Replacement Theory is generally a group of conspiracy theories that claim a coming demographic collapse of white Europeans and Americans. It emphasises that mass immigration and interracial mixing is ‘diluting’ white and Western culture, resulting in the primary fear that soon, Western civilisation will buckle. My first instinct is that this, of course, is ridiculous. Western civilisation is far too entrenched and powerful to collapse even if these conspiracy theories contained a shred of truth. But it is clear that in the USA and Europe there’s a cultural war being waged. The battle for rights and the freedom to live is at stake. This war in the US: CRT.
In my opinion this is just history; an accurate account of how the law and institutions work together to disadvantage blacks and people of colour in the United States both in the past and present. However, the likes of Tucker Carlson, right-wing media and politicians misconstrue this as ‘woke, anti-white bullshit’.
The ideology which motivated the Buffalo Massacre has a bloody history since 2011 directly inspiring over 160 murders. In addition, White Replacement Theory was the dominant narrative of Nazi ideology both during its naissance in 1920s Europe and until this day.
Overall, this is just a denial of the basic reality that the US structurally plays a role in denying the rights and freedoms of African Americans. Whether it is through red-lining, disproportionate sentencing, or mass incarceration through their notorious prison system, it’s not surprising that a nation in which this occurs also refuses to take responsibility for its mistakes. There are certain arguments, such as reparations for slavery which, according to Charles Mills in his book The Racial Contract would cost the US trillions of dollars it doesn’t have.
It's clear that these racist mass shootings will not go away as long at the neo-Nazi and white nationalist conspiracy theories continue to proliferate through mainstream American politics, and no gun laws are able to protect people from the fuel of hate that burns in the American alt-right.
The problem at hand is a nation that refuses to take responsibility for its problems and accommodates a widely viewed media that has slipped towards this white, nationalist tendency. Perhaps the most shocking is that it is gripping people of our generation, the gunman who was nineteen writing out neo-Nazi manifestos. This is a dark turn of our century, and something must change. This ridiculous doubling-down on white hegemony comes, ultimately, from fear, irrationality, and quite deep-rooted hatred. The dominant culture of Western whiteness is by no means threatened by the freedom and rights of minorities: institutions are already set-up against them. This is all CRT claims, and even then it is narrowed at analysing legal institutions.
Immigration to the US and Europe is no threat, and for the most part, immigrants seek to integrate and assimilate into their host culture in order to maximise their opportunities and ensure they are not alienated. It seems the larger threat is not Western societies losing their cultures but non-Western cultures. Millions of people, including myself, who are the children of immigrants do not even know their mother tongue, nor are familiar with their cultural heritage. It would be far more accurate to claim this is a form of white washing. The Christian colonisation of large portions of the world has been a great success as far as it is concerned. Many populations have been successfully tamed out of their indigenous roots.
The most disturbing phenomenon that all this fear results in of radicalisation resulting in mass shootings is hard to both understanding and explain. Disenfranchised and neglected working class white people globally understand at some level that they have been failed by neoliberal capitalism. They’re angry, they’re disadvantaged, and they seek something to direct this frustration at. But Socialism has been soured by the spectre of the 20th century, so they buy into the lie of immigration causing the issues.
Politicians love this, it’s their nectar, scapegoating and using this narrative, inventing glorious nostalgia for White America or White Europe. Not too long ago politicians like Enoch Powell would be dismissed as delusional. The institutions are also complicit – why is this attack not deemed as terrorist by nature? Even the way the shooting ended, with the police taking the terrorist peacefully while disproportionately shooing down innocent African Americans in the street.
And it is the young who are increasingly becoming radicalised into these far-right circles. With many groomed online on various platforms, vulnerable and disenfranchised individuals can be easily manipulated by the false causation of problems, or the invention of false problems themselves. If governments didn’t fail their people through poor policy and focussing on their neoliberal agenda, this disenfranchisement wouldn’t exist.
But there’s a question here, raised by the proliferation of white supremacist conspiracy theorists online: should platforms and outlets censor these views? Perhaps surprisingly, I think not. On John Stuart Mill’s account, these ridiculous views typically get filtered out in the marketplace of ideas. I.e., the majority of reasonable-minded people do not buy into it. But, as we know from the shootings in America, it only demands a few individuals. I think rather, the remedy to this sickness is the acknowledgement of the full weight of injustices done to native and African Americans. Often it is forgotten or dismissed that the US, every inch of it, is built upon stolen land, upon genocidal colonialism of a people who were invaded, killed, and forgotten about.
The avoidance of this acknowledgement is what aids the ignorance that results in these ideas spreading. The problem is that a lot of nations, not just the US, face failed governments and economic hardship, and so immigrants are continuously scapegoated around the world. This results in nationalist resurgence as we have seen over the past few years in Europe especially. The climate is rife for the disenfranchised, working-class whites to buy into conspiracy theories and bring-on the dangerous repeat of the last century.
Even if ammunition is banned or limited, and gun control is strengthened, there will still be violence. And if not through guns then culturally, for violence is not solely physical. It’s who get what and who remains free at the end of it. Who has rights, to vote, to own property, to take out loans, and have well-funded schools. And the peddlers of these dangerous ideologies are placed in positions of power by the American voter, with Republicans lobbying for voter ID laws, poll closures in certain areas. Bottom line is Republican lawmakers and politicians are endorsing this theory and other racist views, which is indicative of their intention to defend “their” corrupt version of America where innocent children get killed, terrorists freely commit genocide against black lives, and corrupt police butcher the people they’re meant to protect. In conclusion if the media, institutions, and politicians do not fight this issue, not just America, but the world, will soon be dropped into a far darker place.