Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.
By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.
What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.
You may have read about the tragic events this past weekend in Buffalo, New York, where a gunman shot down 10 black people at a supermarket. Before committing that heinous act, he had stated his intent was to “kill as many black people as possible.” He wrote these words in a 180-page manifesto published online before he carried out what investigators are calling a hate crime and a racist act of violent extremism.
The 18-year-old white man, who claimed to target a specific zip code in Buffalo because it “has the highest black percentage that is close enough to where I live,” repeatedly lamented about immigration, which he feared would result in “ethnic replacement,” “cultural replacement,” “racial replacement,” and ultimately, he wrote, “white genocide.”
This is the “white replacement theory” or the “Great Replacement” that has motivated similar mass killings in recent years. It is a racist conspiracy theory that holds that, through immigration, interracial marriage, integration, and violence, and at the behest of secret forces orchestrated by “global elites” (i.e., Jews), Christian whites are being disenfranchised, disempowered, and pushed out of “white nations.”
This notion, which serves as a justification for violence directed at Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, and Muslims, is being justified and promoted aggressively by the far right in the United States. At the same time, those on the right (and not just on the far right) are condemning teaching or discussing Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is an academic concept the core of which is the idea that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. In other words, it’s the study of how American racism has shaped public policy.
On the one hand, “white replacement theory promotes violence against any group that its proponents perceive as a threat to the purity, the supremacy, and even the survival of the white race. “Critical race theory,” on the other hand, is a non-violent way of trying to understand the systemic racism that pervades society in the United States.
My provocative question this week is a bit unusual in that I’m not looking for a specific answer as much as I am your reactions to, and thoughts about, what I have written above. So…
How do you feel about what is going on in the United States in regard to racism? Do you see any way of reconciling the concepts of White Replacement Theory and Critical Race Theory?
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