Ok, here goes. A post from a thread I recently wrote in light of recent violence (yet again) out in Buffalo. It pertains to replacement theory, or as I describe it here, white replacement theory. This idea is not fringe. It is an embedded cultural understanding most notably upheld by white people formed in a culture of color-blindness and white supremacist ideology.
Note, I’m am speaking about individuals here, but not one single individual. We are all a product of the systems that shape and form our understanding of the world. That’s what I want to bring light to. The way our culture forms white folks is built to in fact shield them (and really anyone who adopts a lot of mainstream thinking) from the complexity of a diverse world world. This ultimately impacts how white people can capably function within changing demographics throughout North America–namely that of increased diversity. After all, when you are shaped to understand your place in the world within the lap of privilege, losing it is something to fear. There is a genuine concern amongst white folks and for good reason. They see their world of inherited privilege (simply seen as “the way things always used to work”) slipping away.
(Don’t come at me with, “but I grew up poor” rhetoric. The privilege I speak to is one you don’t always see.)
As a Canadian, I’m curious how white replacement theory permeates our culture. Since the classic understanding within the Canadian psyche is to deflect racism as a distinct American problem, do we suffer from the same not so fringe ideologies?
When we look at data from the US, we know white evangelicals are among the worst at buying into white replacement theory (and other conspiracy theories) hook, line, and sinker. Antivaxxers are an easy example us of this.
Because folks have asked, here's the % of Americans who affirm core QAnon conspiracy (elites, pedophiles, sex-trafficking ring, etc.) across select religious traditions. About 1/5 of white evangelicals. More than anyone. "Other religions" are close, but smaller in absolute terms. https://t.co/8sLpU0R7kY pic.twitter.com/YXaJdq6yZg
— Samuel Perry (@profsamperry) May 17, 2022
Take note, these aren’t fringe groups!
Fears abt replacement theory are NOT fringe on right.
Agree "Immigrants are invading our country & replacing our cultural and ethnic background.”
Rep: 60% vs. Dem: 11%
QAnon believers: 65%
Wh evangelical: 50%
Wh non-coll: 43%
Via @PRRIpoll 2021.
— Robert P. Jones (@robertpjones) May 16, 2022
And what about Canada?
Well let’s go back a few months to glorious “FREEDOM CONVOY!” Yeehaw! White people literally shut down the Nation’s capital AND Alberta’s largest land border crossing for WEEKS.
The loss of white superiority is a part answer as to why protests happened in the first place. Initially, white folks tried to pass it off as a protest against health measures, but that didn’t hold water given how measures were ending. What also seemed clear was how widespread freedom convoy support was amongst white conservatives. Although public support quickly waned from the initial peak, the # of conservatives jumping on convoy wagon was huge.
Yet nobody can pinpoint what the protests were about. (Maybe that’s just part of it mind you, there was no clarity on central objectives, albeit the protests themselves were highly organized and funded locally and from abroad.)
Something was brewing underneath the surface, coaxed out of hiding in the Trump years. White folks began pinpointing the concern by noting the disruption to core beliefs. Namely, white people were losing their demographic place as the numerical majority, and more down to earth, white people hate being told what to do. White folks culturally should be able to do whatever they want (within the law, usually). This is why white replacement theory is a product out of Manifest Destiny and colonization. To operate in society with impunity is a core value, and the growing diversity is a threat. We can chart an example by looking at how hard needed public health measures couldn’t stick, despite the harm they continue to bring.
Culturally, when white men don’t know how to live in a world that won’t centre his needs above all others, you get inevitable dissonance and trouble. Add in touches of white supremacy, and the loss of white privilege ’caused by’ outsiders, namely Black and brown bodies, you get violence and destruction. And that’s what we continue to witness over and over again, particularly in gun happy America, that comes at the expense of those bodies on the margins.