'Great Replacement Theory,' explained

How a racist conspiracy theory inspired the Buffalo shooter

Conservatives.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

Buffalo is reeling from the nation's latest gun massacre — 10 people were killed Saturday at a Tops grocery store in one of the city's predominantly Black neighborhoods, by a white 18-year-old gunman who had a racial slur written on his rifle, and who days earlier had posted a white supremacist manifesto in which he decried "the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people" by minorities.

The slaughter has drawn attention to the "Great Replacement Theory," an idea once confined to racist fringe movements, but which has gone more broadly mainstream in recent years. "Certainly, there was no mistaking the racist intent of the shooter," writes David Bauder at The Associated Press. "Simply put, the conspiracy theory says there's a plot to diminish the influence of white people."

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