No doubt that the Buffalo shooting is tragic and motivated by hate, but retired Vanderbilt University professor Carol M. Swain believes we need to address the underlying issues that create this type of hate and division. She said our leaders need to bring people together by promoting an American identity instead of pushing identity politics.
“In that book, “The New White Nationalism,” I argue that we needed to reject identity politics and multiculturalism,” Swain said during an interview with NTD’s Capitol Report. “In America, we need to focus on the American national identity. And I think that that is where we need to be.”
“I think we are responsible, that because we are not addressing issues and grievances and problems in a way that brings people together, we are creating an atmosphere where these types of incidents will continue to occur,” Swain said.
On May 14, Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white male, shot and killed 10 at a supermarket and left three injured; 11 who were shot were black. Gendron described himself as a white supremacist.
According to the manifesto Gendron posted online, he said he chose Buffalo because of strict laws governing gun ownership there and because it has a large black population.
Swain said the Buffalo incident should be looked at in the context of broader hate crimes. She also thinks that there needs to be less focus on inclusion, equity initiatives, and the differences among groups, and a greater focus on what unites us as Americans.
“What happened was tragic. But we also need to look at the subway incident, we also need to look at the hate crimes that take place involving other groups. And we need to look at ourselves and our leaders and how they’re responding,” Swain said.
“Right now, we have the critical race theory, the diversity, equity, inclusion being pushed upon the population in a way that divides people, it creates racial animosity and hatred.”
Swain said political leaders are stoking divisions and allowing those on the left who vandalized business and federal buildings in the 2020 riots to get away with violence.
“As long as politicians see political advantage to dividing people along racial lines, I think you’re going to have young people, you know, that have grievances, and they see racial double standards, and they get angrier and angrier,” Swain said.
“What we find is that, in this environment, the political parties are divided to a large extent. The Democrats see political advantage to dividing people along racial and ethnic lines. And with the Republicans, they’re too afraid to stand up.”
A crucial step toward building unity is allowing for free speech and open dialogue, she said.
“Unfortunately, we have created a society where people can’t talk. We would be much better off if we could talk freely,” said Swain.
“If we stood up for principles, old-fashioned Judeo-Christian principles, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, if we kept taking things back to principled responses, then I think there would be less animosity,” she added.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden went to Buffalo to visit the community that lost loved ones in the shooting. In his speech, the president called the shooting in Buffalo an act of “domestic terrorism,” invoked the Jan. 6 incident, and lumped the two together under the banner of white supremacy.
Swain called Biden’s remarks “pandering” saying, “When I look at Jan. 6, [it] has nothing to do with this young man in Buffalo, absolutely nothing.”
The vast majority of Jan. 6 protesters said that they were at the Capitol to voice their objection to the 2020 election irregularities and lack of election integrity.