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False 'Great Replacement' Theory Cited in Antiminority Violence

The man accused of killing 10 people in Buffalo posted a document online that made references to a conspiracy theory known as the “great replacement.” The false theory has been cited by gunmen in other attacks targeting immigrants and religious, ethnic and racial minorities in recent years. “The great replacement” is a conspiracy theory that asserts elites—politicians, business executives, media—are using immigration and other policies as a tool to reduce the white population, reports the Wall Street Journal. Belief in the idea has increased in the U.S. as the percentage of white Americans, compared with nonwhite people, shrinks. The nation’s non-Hispanic white population dropped 2.6 percent. The Census Bureau says the population of nonwhite people may will exceed the white population by 2045. Replacement theory was revived in 2011 by French critic Renaud Camus, according to the Anti-Defamation League. He wrote an essay called “The Great Replacement” that has since been widely cited in white supremacist rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center said that as the conspiracy theory has gained traction, some backers are taking violent action against minority groups. Political scientist Joseph Uscinski of the University of Miami says that In the case of the Buffalo shooting, in which the alleged shooter targeted Blacks, the theory is applied more broadly: “It’s less of an ‘immigrant taking over the country’ concern, and more of an ‘anyone not white taking over the country’ concern.” Replacement theory has gained attention on social media, particularly on sites and forums with little regulation like Reddit and 4chan, said Scott Campbell, a professor of communications and media researching white nationalism at the University of Michigan. It has also been discussed on conservative TV, including “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” on Fox News

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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