This conspiracy theory is influencing killers from Germany to New Zealand and now, it seems, El Paso
This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. Those were the words that appeared 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 white replacement theory, which refers to the belief that white people will be 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 theory is actually made up of two sub-conspiracies: the great replacement theory, which originated in France, and the white genocide theory, which comes from the US. Together, the theories are among the most widespread ideologies in far-right spaces, and the primary catalysts of far-right mass violence.
The great replacement can generally be understood as two core beliefs. The first is that 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 that replacement has been orchestrated by a shadowy group as part of their grand plan to rule the world which they will do by creating a completely racially homogenous society. This group is often overtly identified as being Jews, but sometimes the antisemitism is more implicit.
These beliefs have proliferated in mass killer texts for the past eight years. They are generally understood as having begun 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 cropped up in the manifestos of several more mass killers in Europe, before making its way to the rambling screed published by the Christchurch shooter, which was titled The Great Replacement. The Christchurch manifesto begins with: Its the birthrates. Its the birthrates. Its the birthrates. It was directly inspired by Breivik and he, in turn, inspired the El Paso shooter.