It’s been nine days since 13 people were gunned down—10 of them fatally—at the Buffalo supermarket Tops in the heart of a Black community. The white male terrorist behind it, Payton Gendron, published a manifesto online outlining his hatred of Black people and every step of his plan to kill them just days before the massacre.
He drove over 100 miles to shoot up the grocery store Black residents fought to have for decades; those same people were executed in it for simply existing. Yet there have been no public cries of outrage from white America, no condemnation for a truly inhumane and monstrous act.
The same white institutions that posted Black squares on their Instagram feeds to prove that they stand in solidarity with Black folks after the 2020 murder of George Floyd have gone radio silent—and the silence is deafening. Those pledges to do better by Black folks quickly became obsolete once it wasn’t trendy or provocative or convenient to do so.
Where is your anger? Do all lives still matter?
Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at March’s Oscars ceremony drew more ire from white liberal celebrities than the loss of the Black lives in Buffalo. Responses to the slap ranged from being “traumatized” by the altercation between the two men to saying that Smith could have killed Rock.
But why has there been no damnation from that same group regarding the white supremacist who actually killed Black people? After George Floyd was murdered in 2020 by Minneapolis police on camera, the nation finally paid attention to the very real plight of this country’s most vulnerable group.
The ones who are most likely to be harassed, arrested, assaulted and killed by cops. The ones who are most likely to be on the receiving end of hate crimes—like the one that happened in Buffalo.
Gendron spelled out his motives in his writings and they blatantly mimic the far-right rhetoric used to oppress marginalized populations. There is no room for interpretation—his reasoning was racism and the fear that white people will become minorities in America.
The same reasoning is used by Tucker Carlson and his Fox News cohorts on a nightly basis, by the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion, by Republican politicians to ban books and critical race theory. Black people have been marching, protesting and speaking up about our mistreatment because we never had a choice. However, the burden should not be on us to fix a system that profits from our brutalization.
White people should march in the streets, speak out against white supremacy, donate money to Buffalo relief funds, stop advertising on Fox News, advocate for domestic terrorism legislation and fight for gun control. In other words, they should be working to dismantle the structures in a place whose sole purpose is to disempower people of color. Black people don’t need performative allyship on social media—we need actual, tangible change.
Those who died in Buffalo shouldn’t be forgotten in the rapidity of the ever-changing news cycle. Their names are: Margus D. Morrison, Roberta A. Drury, Aaron Salter, Andre Mackniel, Ruth Whitfield, Katherine Massey, Heyward Patterson, Celestine Chaney, Pearl Young and Geraldine Talley. Their memories not only need to be honored but should galvanize those who “support” Black people into action.
White America, what are you going to do to prevent what happened in Buffalo from happening again?