Slacker’s Syllabus: The Great Replacement Theory

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Why is “great replacement” theory in the news?

On May 14, an 18-year-old white man traveled to a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, armed with a shotgun and semiautomatic rifle. He opened fire at a grocery store, killing 10 people and injuring three others.

There is no ambiguity about why the killer did this, because he was taken alive into custody and left a 180-page manifesto. In it, he explicitly stated his goal was to kill as many Black people as possible.

What drove him to attack Black people? A racist, antisemitic conspiratorial idea known as the “great replacement” theory.

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What is the “great replacement” theory?

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There are a couple different versions of the “great replacement” theory, but they all boil down to the same general conceit: that people of color will replace white people in Western countries, particularly the United States.

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