An 18-year-old gunman, Payton S. Gendron carried out a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York that killed 11 people, according to NPR, most of whom were Black. He live-streamed it on the gaming platform Twitch.
Gendron was a self-proclaimed white supremacist who believed in the ‘great replacement theory’. The great replacement theory is the fear of white people being replaced by people of color in political representation. He uploaded a 180-page racist document describing his hatred towards Black people, who he felt were an inferior race.
Gendron described his plans in detail online over the five months leading up to the shooting. He traveled months in advance to surveil the targeted supermarket. He had previously had a psychiatric evaluation done because, while in high school, because he stated he planned to commit a murder-suicide.
It seems as if there were several times for higher authorities to intervene with Gendron’s behavior, but everyone closed their eyes.
This neglect is what led to the attack at the supermarket, where several Black people were murdered.
Black people are being murdered by white supremacists, police, and the healthcare system, and no one bats an eye. This only reinforces the idea that this country doesn’t care about Black lives.
Even when the clear disdain and hatred for Black lives is coming from every corner of the country, no one in power seems to make an effort to make change.
Black people have been fighting to live in this country—built on the blood, sweat, tears and strife of their ancestors—for centuries.
Anti-Blackness has long been ingrained into every aspect of society, which perpetuates the unjust treatment of Black people in America. The United States of America has been attacking Blackness instead of putting its focus on the real threat: white supremacy.
Every system failed when it came to taking the behaviors and actions of the shooter seriously. If this country perceived whiteness as a threat like it does Blackness, there would have already been plans in place to prevent incidents like the mass shooting from happening.
Black people are often over surveilled by everyone and everything even when they aren’t doing anything. More than 90% of Black people said that they have been racially profiled in stores while shopping according to The Guardian.
This is usually displayed by employees or store owners closely monitoring Black people from the moment they enter the store until they exit.
This type of alertness is never on when it comes to white shoppers. It manifests itself through education and criminal justice systems where Black people are almost always perceived as a threat and have to be under surveillance.
Black people are tired of being tired as they watch a constant disregard for their lives. How many “Payton Gendron’s” will it take before the country finally opens its eyes?
What will happen when the overwhelming collective feelings Black people have had for the past centuries finally explode?
When will enough be enough?