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15 Jan

White Fear Fueled By The ‘Great Alternative Theory’ Is

Once I heard concerning the Buffalo shooting, I used to be really disheartened. Hearing that this 18-year-old shooter was influenced by the “Great Alternative” theory, brought tears to my eyes for the families and friends of the attractive ten individuals whose lives were snatched away from this world.

For many who could also be unfamiliar with this racist ideology, the “Great Alternative Theory” is a conspiracy theory that “says that there’s a plot to diminish the influence of white people.” Individuals who subscribe to this theory consider that “this goal is being achieved each through the immigration of nonwhite people into societies which have largely been dominated by white people, in addition to through easy demographics, with white people having lower birth rates than other populations,” in accordance with The Associated Press.

Of their April 2022 report, Define American identified what anti-immigration messages were most pervasive on the platform, YouTube. They were capable of map out the top-performing anti-immigration content creators of the last 13 years and analyzed their messaging tactics, which they found that their “underlying arguments support the white nationalist theory of “The Great Alternative,” or the concept immigrants of color will overtake predominantly white nations, causing a “white genocide.”

These messaging tactics sadly should be working, as a recent May 9 survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that “roughly one in three (32%) adults agree that a bunch of individuals is trying to interchange native-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains. The same share (29%) also express concern that a rise in immigration is resulting in native-born Americans losing economic, political, and cultural influence—tapping into the core arguments of Alternative Theory—the study also indicates about one in five (17%) adults agree with each of those central tenets.”

The more mainstream this theory becomes, the clearer it’s that the more white people avoid having the difficult conversation topics about race (white privilege, slavery, history of racism in America, etc.), Black lives will proceed to be in grave danger. 

Perhaps we must always start by unbanning race/identity books in schools and have children and their families wrestle with the ugly stain of racism in America, especially white families.

PEN America, an advocacy group that works to guard free expression collected an index of college book bans between July 2021 to March 2022, which found that books had been banned in 2,899 schools across the country.

Their index identified 247 books (22%) that discuss subjects of race and racism, including fiction and non-fiction titles that prominently discuss racism in america, though not exclusively. These books include incessantly banned titles reminiscent of Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez, How one can Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and Dear Martin by Nic Stone. Additionally they identified 107 books that discuss civil rights and activism (9%), which incorporates stories about historic and current conflicts coping with civil and human rights each in america and globally, reminiscent of Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook by Christopher Noxon, which was banned while under review in Virginia Beach, VA, and We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures by Amnesty International, banned in Central York, Pennsylvania.

If nothing else, the Buffalo shooting ought to be a clarion call that keeping children away from authentic knowledge, they could be more at risk of believing racist ideologies, just like the Great Alternative Theory. Children should be learning the authentic truth of America, in an age-appropriate way. By reading books like The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah Jones, lots of the other aforementioned banned titles, children will find a way to know the difference between what’s racist and what isn’t, and make the selection to avoid going into the rabbit hole of racist conspiracy theories online.

All children, but particularly white children, must know the ugly truth concerning the historical impact of racism inside this country. They need to pay attention to white privilege, in order that they don’t use theirs to buy a handgun, goal a predominantly Black neighborhood of innocent people, and shoot them, while they shop. They should learn concerning the history of their ancestors enslaving ours, in hopes that they are going to not follow of their footsteps and further marginalizing our Black children through stopping them from securing a loan to buy a house or starting a small business. They should see pictures of our ancestors being lynched within the hopes that they will likely be so disturbed that they might never wish to cause any kind of violence to those that look in another way than them.

They should learn concerning the Civil Rights movement, in order that they can see how our ancestors endured being bitten by dogs when protesting for the very rights that lots of their ancestors fought to maintain for themselves alone. They should know concerning the torment that Ruby Bridges and The Little Rock Nine needed to endure once they integrated their white schools, in an try to get a good and equal education, reminiscent of crowds of white people hurling racial slurs at them, spitting at them, threatening to kill them, in order that they realize that racism isn’t only fallacious, however it leaves lasting scars on the individuals who must endure it.

What’s so upsetting to me is that those individuals who consider on this theory are “fearful” of being replaced by people of color. I’m wondering whether it is crossing their minds that the families of Aaron Salter, Ruth Whitfield, Katherine “Kat” Massey, Pearl Young, Heyward Patterson, Celestine Chaney, Roberta Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackneil, and Geraldine Talley is not going to find a way to interchange their presence that this shooter took away together with his gun that day. All these families and friends are left with sorrow and memories of their family members to assist them to carry on from everyday.

This week, I used to be listening to a sermon by a pastor who talked about how the reality may be uncomfortable to take care of, yet it might probably uncuff you once it’s acknowledged and handled. I think that that is true, especially with regards to talking truthfully concerning the impact of racism inside this country. Until this truth is acknowledged and handled collectively as a nation, this theory will sadly proceed to grip within the hearts and minds of people and incidents like Buffalo won’t ever stop.

Journalist and activist Ida B. Wells said, “I feel…utterly discouraged, and just now, if it were possible, would gather my race in my arms and fly away with them.” The times following the massacre, I felt that quote for us, because the Black community. To find a way to fly us away from the pervasive racism that we face and feel day by day could be wonderful to do, as we mourn the lack of ten beautiful souls.

Nevertheless, what we are able to do is honor their lives by keeping their legacies of religion, kindness, compassion, and activism alive in our hearts by serving inside our local communities. We are able to proceed to fight for a nation that recognizes and respects our full humanity, proceed to like, and pray for the families and each other through this difficult situation, and make space to consult with each other about our feelings of sorrow, fear, grief, or anger around this tragedy.

Deidre Montague is a journalist who enjoys covering social justice and race/culture issues. She is a recent graduate from Manchester Community College in Manchester, Connecticut, together with her Associates degree majoring in Communications with a concentration in Journalism. After working within the Social Work field for a pair years, her interest transitioned into community storytelling through her writing, with empathy and compassion. When she isn’t busy writing articles, she enjoys watching Catfish and Dr. Phil episodes, listening to Gospel and pop music, and spending quality time together with her family members. 

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