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House Democrats pass resolution condemning ‘great replacement theory’

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 about a resolution condemning Rep. Lauren Boebert's (R-Colo.) use of Islamaphobic rhetoric and removing her from her current committee assignments.
Greg Nash

The House on Wednesday passed a resolution that condemns the “great replacement theory” less than a month after a gunman who reportedly espoused the racist conspiracy theory fatally shot 10 Black people in Buffalo, N.Y.

The resolution passed the House as part of a rule setting up a vote on gun reforms. The vote on the rule was 218 to 205. Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) joined all Republicans in opposing the rule.

The measure is a direct response to the May 14 mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo. The accused gunman — 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, N.Y. — reportedly cited the great replacement theory in a manifesto he published online. The conspiracy theory claims there is an effort underway to replace white Americans with people of color. 

Authorities said the gunman intentionally targeted a predominantly Black neighborhood.

The resolution, introduced by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), specifically “condemns in the strongest terms” the great replacement theory, which it described as “a White supremacist conspiracy theory that has been used to falsely justify racially motivated, violent acts of terrorism domestically and internationally.”

The measure also condemns the Buffalo shooting, honors the victims of the massacre and reaffirms the House’s “commitment to combating White supremacy, hatred, and racial injustice.”

The “great replacement” theory sprung into the spotlight on Capitol Hill following the Buffalo shooting. Democrats accused GOP lawmakers of instigating violence by embracing white nationalist views that the accused gunman espoused, but Republicans largely dismissed the charges.

On the House floor Wednesday, Bowman said “the great replacement myth is a racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, nativist and hateful lie.”

“It’s 2022, and Black people are still being hunted down and killed in America. The same goes for every person of color, Jewish people, the LGBTQ+ community and every marginalized person in this country,” he added before reading the names of the Buffalo shooting victims.

The congressman continued, saying that “our nation is mourning and has been mourning since this country was founded.”

“We cannot continue to carry on as if this hatred is an undeniable part of American culture and cannot change. We must combat white supremacy. I refuse to be complicit in his hatred because we have failed to take a stand as a nation,” he added.

The House passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act in the aftermath of the Buffalo shooting. The measure, which cleared the lower chamber in a mainly party-line vote, calls for creating domestic terrorism offices in departments throughout the federal government that would monitor and examine potential terror activity.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) was the only GOP lawmaker to support the bill.

Senate Republicans ultimately blocked the legislation, arguing that the offices are not necessary to monitor and prosecute domestic terrorism because laws currently in existence have authority over politically motivated violence.

Tags Adam Kinzinger buffalo shooting Great Replacement Theory Jamaal Bowman

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