Another racially motivated fatal shooting has rocked Black America. An 18-year-old white man is under arrest for fatally shooting 10 people, and wounding three others at Tops Friendly Market in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. The shooter was allegedly motivated by white supremacy, writing a 180-page document espousing the “Great Replacement Theory,” which claims there’s an intentional effort to replace the white American majority with people of color through immigration.
As the African American community is gripped by another tragic mass shooting, Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony joins host Stephen Henderson to talk about the Buffalo shooting and the gunman’s white supremacist views. Plus, they posit what needs to be done to reduce and eliminate these casualties, including white Americans’ role in addressing racism.
Stephen Henderson: Reverend Wendell Anthony, we find ourselves again, I think, trying to decide which emotion is right. Is it sadness? Is it anger? Is it frustration? This just keeps happening. And I got to say, I’m tired of deciding which emotion is the right one. I want this to change. And I guess I just don’t know what will make that happen.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP: Well, Stephen, always good to be with you. I mean, you feel like I do. I think it was a combination of all of the emotions. At the same time, you’re angry, you’re frustrated, you’re disappointed, you’re disgusted, you’re challenged. You want to do something. You want something to stop, you want something to start. And here we are again. And the tragedy, Steve, though you and I both know this is not the last one.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: It’s going to happen again until we recognize that there’s not a black problem or brown problem or red or yellow problem. America has a problem. And the problem is racism. It’s white supremacy. It’s those who believe that black and brown people have achieved too much and taken things away from them.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: The fact that an 18 year old man, white man. Drove 200 miles armed, planned and executed ten black people, wounding others whom he’d never met, ain’t done nothing to him because he got bored during the pandemic when he was at home with his mom. Something is wrong here. And the fact that you have politicians, Republicans, and they must own this, the Republican Party must own this,.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Not the Democrats. The Republicans must own it because these are Republican extremists and people who are fighting back, championing the dogma of Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Greene. Of all these individuals, Matt Gaetz, of all these folks who are enabling them. The fact I agree with Liz Cheney that the GOP has enabled this mess to occur. And until they step up and negate and expel these people and say, we don’t want nothing to do with this and enforce promises and programs that speak to collectivity rather than individuality, we got a problem.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: It’s interesting Stephen. I’m sitting between Jeremiah Wright on my right and Barack Obama on my left. Now y’all didn’t like Jeremiah because you said he was too strong. He told the truth and he was just too hard. Okay. You didn’t like Barack Obama and he was a president and he tried to bring everybody together. On the one hand, you didn’t like Jeremiah because you said he was too divisive. On the other hand, you didn’t like Obama because he was trying to unify the country. Well, what the hell do you want to be? I mean, somewhere we have got to come together and face our reality.
Stephen Henderson: Obviously, I agree with what you’re saying. And it does this does lie at the feet of white conservatism, white Republicanism, whatever you want to call it. But I want to talk about white comfort because that is what that’s what came to mind for me after this happened over the last week. It’s not the people who are pushing these things who are only responsible.
Stephen Henderson: It’s those people who might even be of good faith and not believe in white supremacy, want things to be equal, but whose lives aren’t affected by this and who don’t come out of their comfort zone to say, we can’t have this, we’re not doing this. Some of these folks vote Republican in some of these cases. Some of these folks live in communities where there aren’t African-Americans or African-Americans are kept out. And we, Martin Luther King, talked about the danger of the white moderate. I think that’s where our problem. That’s where a lot of our problems lie.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Stephen, you see me nodding at everything you’re saying, because you’re right on point because I was going to make that point. Dr. King said it well. We were not remember so much the loud noise and the bad stuff from the bad people of this generation. But we will remember the science of the good people of this generation. I was asked the other day by a reporter, what are you going to say to your church or what did you say to your church the Sunday after the shooting?
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Well, I say to my church what I say all the time, out of these ashes, we rise. We have challenges that we still must forge ahead, that we still must love and work and have faith and put work to our faith and to our prayers. That we will live in a society that is still challenged. But that’s not the question Steve. The question is, what do the white pastors, the white preachers, the white leaders. Where are the white civil rights leaders, why do you come to Wendell Anthony and folk like me all of the time when Wendell Anthony ain’t shoot nobody. Wendell Anthony ain’t got no racism issue to ploy and to dig deep.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: I’m not trying to talk about people are taking over and this replacement where you are. What do you say to your congregation in Grosse Pointe? In Dearborn, in Troy, in Rochester, in Livonia? What are you saying to them on Sunday morning? What are the big creatures who have all these programs? The evangelicals who believe in the message of God and of Christ, who talk about loving your neighbor as yourself and doing in others as you would have them do? And what are you what is your message to them?
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: I don’t hear none. And so I agree with you, Stephen, and that’s why when you at your job, when you are at your church, when you’re at your club, when you’re playing big west or playing poker or whatever your game is, if you all having these group discussions and somebody throws some stuff on the table that you know ain’t right, you got to check it. And when you have the opportunity to make a difference in terms of diversity in your company, you need to Inspire it and creative it.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: And, isn’t it something that Mitch McConnell and a delegation of Republicans went to Ukraine to talk about democracy over there and freedom over there and how we must support this move for democracy over there, but they won’t do a darn thing over here. They still will not do anything to deal with gun violence, to deal with gun checks and to deal with not taking your weapons of the Second Amendment. They always want to hide behind the Second Amendment. That’s the biggest lie in town.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Ain’t nobody trying to take your gun. People are trying to get you to be responsible with your guns and you won’t do nothing with that. And all this talk about being pro-life. No, you’re not pro-life. You are pro-birth. And then when the baby is born, you tell them to go to hell. You won’t do nothing with health care. You won’t do nothing with gun violence. You won’t do nothing with education. You won’t do nothing with jobs and high wages and livable wages. And yet you run around here talking about your pro-life, your pro-birth.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: And you’re pro-death because you will not engage in making a difference. So there’s room in this boat for all of us. W.E.B. Dubois once said, well, years ago when he said, the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line. The problem of the 21st century is still the problem of the color line. And he also said that America will be destroyed because of ignorance.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: And unless we destroy ignorance, the United States will be destroyed. This is ignorance at its highest level. Nobody can replace anybody. Critical race theory does not exist. We have a critical racial issue in America and let’s deal with it. Calling all good white folk, all good black folk. All good brown folk, red folk, yellow, whatever kind of folk we need where you are. We need you. And we’re calling. And America needs you. People need you. If we’re going to get out of this mess.
Stephen Henderson: So we’ve only got a couple of minutes left. But I also want to talk a little about black radicalism and the role that it used to play, any role that we needed to play now in moving more people to the idea that they got to do something about this.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Well, Stephen, that is true, but it’s not black radicals that are running around here shooting up supermarkets. They did not shoot up a Jewish synagogue. They did not go to Texas and kill folks who are from Mexico and our Latino brothers. The Anti-Defamation League recently said that of the 415 recent killings, right-wing extremists have done 75% of those. Islamic extremists are responsible about 20% and left-wing are responsible for 4%.
Stephen Henderson: So but then the question is…
Stephen Henderson: So I’m asking, should we have more black radicalism? Do we need more black radicalism now to focus people’s attention on this problem? Not violence, obviously, but the more radical instinct that says if we are going to live like this in this country, then everybody’s going to live this way. It’s not just going to be us who are under threat, who are victims all the time that it’s not we are not going to let everybody else exist in peace while we exist in terror.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Well, Stephen, you’re trying to get me in trouble now, but what we look at the revolution. Reverend Anthony was calling for a revolution of behavior. Reverend Anthony believes, just as Christ was called a radical. He was called an extremist. Dr. King was called an extremist. He was an extremist for love, an equal opportunity inequity. He was an extremist for bringing people together. That’s the same kind of extremity I’m talking about.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: It’s hard to tell people to lay down your weapons and to be good citizens when everybody around you is coming at you. I remember what Coleman Young said years ago when they would say, well are you going to talk about disarming in Detroit? He said, As long as you got all these hostile white suburbs around me, I’m not going to be talking about disarming anything.
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony: Now, I am not suggesting black people should take up arms, but I am saying that we cannot be passive in our behaviors, in our problems, in our voting. We got to be radical in our thinking, radical in our positive and constructive behavior to get out. Take our souls to the polls to get engaged and to let people know that, hell, no, this won’t go. We won’t accept this.
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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.