White Replacement Story Aided by Mainstream Media

Let this front page serve as a reminder of how white supremacy is aided by – and often relies upon – the cowardice of mainstream institutions

edited by O Society August 6, 2019

White Replacement Story Motivates Killers the World Over

This conspiracy story influence killers from Germany to New Zealand to El Paso.

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

^ These words ^ appear in a manifesto published shortly before the deadly shooting in El Paso on Saturday. More than half of so-called “alt-right killers” are motivated by the so-called “white replacement” story, which refers to the belief white people are being systematically  replaced by black and brown migrants. The killer in El Paso, who law enforcement believes authored the memo, is apparently no exception.

The white replacement story is actually made up of two sub-conspiracies: “the great replacement” story, which originated in France, and “the white genocide story”, which comes from the US. Together, the stories are among the most widespread ideologies in far-right spaces, and the primary catalysts of far-right mass violence.

The great replacement story can be understood in general as two core beliefs:

The first is “western” identity is under siege by massive waves of immigration from non-European/ non-white countries, resulting in a replacement of white European individuals via demographics.

The second is replacement is orchestrated by a shadowy group as part of their grand plan to rule the world, which they will do by creating a completely racially homogeneous society. This group is often overtly identified as being Jews, but sometimes the antisemitism is more implicit.

These beliefs proliferate in mass killer texts for the past eight years. They are generally understood as origin with Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass shooter whose 1,500-page manifesto expressed a fear of white ethnic replacement by migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

This same fear crops up in the manifestos of several more mass killers in Europe, before making its way to the rambling screed published by the Christchurch shooter, titled The Great Replacement. The Christchurch manifesto begins with: “It’s the birthrates. It’s the birthrates. It’s the birthrates.” It is directly inspired by Breivik – and he, in turn, inspired the El Paso shooter.

Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, 4 August 2019.
Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday. Photograph: Andres Leighton/AP

The El Paso shooter begins his text by writing: “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

Despite is recent proliferation, the great replacement story was first popularized decades ago in the 1973 novel Le Camp des Saints (The Camp of the Saints) by Jean Raspail – a vastly influential book in contemporary white supremacist discourse.


In this work of speculative fiction, Raspail paints an apocalyptic picture of the complete collapse of all western society and culture stemming from a “tidal wave” of immigration from the “third world”. Over the course of the 20th century, the theory proliferated in different white supremacist and ethno-exclusion spaces. It was in 2010, however, that the great replacement theory truly took flight.

The white supremacist Renard Camus introduced the term in his book De l’Innocence, warning of the replacement of white Europeans by peoples coming from the Middle East and North Africa. This is the text that influences much of the white supremacist discourse that we see today, and fuels the growing “identitarian” movement around the world. Identitarians advocate for an ethnically and racially heterogeneous world; they believe that racial mixing (ie sex and reproduction between people of different races) weakens the fabric of our society and is an imminent threat to the stability of majority-white, western nations – as well as the world.

An interfaith vigil for victims of a mass shooting which left at least 20 people dead, on 4 August 2019 in El Paso, Texas.
An interfaith vigil for victims of a mass shooting which left at least 20 people dead, on Sunday in El Paso, Texas. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In the memo believed to have been written by the El Paso shooter, he writes: “I can no longer bear the shame of inaction knowing our founding fathers endowed me with the rights needed to save our country from the brink of destruction. Our European comrades don’t have the gun rights needed to repel the millions of invaders that plaque [sic] their country. They have no choice but to sit by and watch their countries burn.”

Though it is difficult to write about without giving platform to these mass shooters and their ideas, it is important to understand precisely what beliefs are galvanizing many of the mass shootings we are seeing today. It is important to understand that white replacement is a transnational idea and discourse, influencing killers from Germany, to New Zealand, to here in the US. It is a widespread fear of ethnic replacement, shifting to suit the context of the place in which is presents.

In the US, a fear of ethnic replacement by migrants from South and Central America. It is also made much more deadly by the US’s epidemic of available guns, which cause 251 mass shootings in 2019 alone.

The great replacement is a deadly conspiracy – as well as one that is immensely popular on social media and among fearmongers like Tucker Carlson, whether it is overtly referred to or merely dog-whistled. It is vital we understand the origins and implications of the theory, even as we strive to diminish its platform. The great replacement is spreading like a virus; we must find a way to inoculate against it.

There, fixed it.


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4 thoughts on “White Replacement Story Aided by Mainstream Media

  1. This is an old narrative. It was common back in the 1800s. Those identifying as WASPs perceived immigrants and ethnic Americans as other. The Irish, Italians, etc. were considered a threat to whiteness. And the same kind racialized language and imagery was used: savages, beasts, etc.

    This was seen in the 1700s as well. Massive ways of non-English immigrants, not to mention slaves, made the English minorities in quite a few colonies. The majority of Pennsylvanians, for example, were German and spoke German. The Pennsylvanian colonial government had to print every public notice in both English and German. Benjamin Franklin worried about these Germans who refused to assimilate. Also, because they were from the Alsace-Lorraine region, they were swarthy and so not really white. Heck, even the most lilly-white Irish were not really ‘white’ to the English, although they did sometimes get called “white gorillas”.

    The non-English in previous centuries were culturally distinct. There was no melting pot yet, no forced assimilation through public education, no language laws that outlawed foreign tongues. They didn’t easily give up their independent identities. Into the early 20th century, ethnic Americans remained in separate communities. The German language publications (newspapers, books, etc) were common all across the country. In German majority communities, even public schools sometimes were taught in German. It required a lot of oppression, very much organized and sometimes violent, to destroy that European threat to American whiteness.

    I had a second thought. This xenophobic bigotry as paranoid fear-mongering might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more that Western governments do horrible things to other countries (sanctions, bombings, invasions, overthrowing governments, funding terrorists/paramilitaries, etc), the more that costs of the rich are externalized onto the poor (neoliberalism ‘free’ trade agreements, democratic suppression to ensure cheap foreign labor, climate change catastrophes, etc), and the more these people are treated with callous indifference… the more the West will help to create crises elsewhere in the world that will further grow the number of refugees. The white supremacist’s nightmare will become a reality by way of the very actions supported by white supremacy.

    But maybe that is what the reactionaries, authoritarians, and social dominators want. They are looking for an excuse to have a world war, to create police states, to lash out against all enemies, real and perceived. They are intentionally acting to create the world that excites them. As I’ve written before, there is nothing that reactionaries, in particular, fear more than boredom. They want the idea of a cosmic war to give a sense of ultimate meaning and purpose. It is the same reason so many white Americans in the past had cheered on Hitler and the Nazis prior to the US joining the war. It was exciting. Remember that during WWII it wasn’t only Japanese-Americans who were put into internment camps but also German-Americans and Italian-Americans.

    In conflict and division, the forces of oppression see opportunity for glory and greatness. They get off on it.



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