It’s been one year since a white supremacist murdered 10 innocent people when he opened fire in a Buffalo supermarket. The families are lawyered up and asking who is ultimately responsible, and “REVOLT Black News Weekly” is investigating how the community continues to deal with the tragedy. On Friday (May 26), global news anchor Mara S. Campo hosted the powerful episode that also examined a lack of Black sperm donors, an increased interest in psychedelics and more.
The Buffalo massacre occurred on May 14, 2022 at a Tops supermarket in a Black section of the city. The shooter, Payton S. Gendron, a white man, drove 3 1/2 hours (200 miles from his home in Conklin, N.Y.) with the intention of killing Black people. “We’ve known the problem in this country now over the past 100-plus years,” said activist Mark Talley, whose mother, Geraldine Talley, was one of the Buffalo victims. “The problem is racism and white supremacy.”
Gendron reportedly wrote a 180-page manifesto detailing his belief in white supremacy prior to the shooting, asserted his belief in the “Great Replacement Theory” and spoke frequently on the topic of mass immigration. Nevertheless, in court, the domestic terrorist said he was sorry for what he’d done as part of a plea deal that saw him sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
The east side of Buffalo, where the supermarket was located, is a majority Black neighborhood with a reported median income of just $32,609 a year. “Socioeconomic inequality still remains on the east side of Buffalo,” added Talley. “The problems we had before May 14 are still the problems we have after May 14.”
A report from the University of Buffalo stated that in 1990, 38 percent of the Black population lived in poverty, which as of 2021 was at 35 percent. Other issues in the upstate New York city include redlining, discriminatory policing and even memories of the .22 Caliber Killer who slayed at least 12 Black boys and men in 1980. Gendron’s attack appears to be the breaking point, but the city perseveres.
In late 2022, New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a report that blamed dark web platforms for influencing Gendron. The killer livestreamed his attack on Twitch and admitted he was radicalized after reading message boards like 4Chan. Families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against multiple platforms (including Meta, Google and Amazon) that they believe are responsible for Gendron’s radicalization.
The lawsuit’s focus is on the algorithm not content, which falls under free speech. “The way social media is designed it is to maximize user engagement. The more time that the user is engaged, the more money the social media providers will make,” said attorney John V. Elmore, who represents several of the families. “They have a design where they’ll send algorithms… in this particular case with the killer Payton Gendron [who] was radicalized on social media, we believe that he was [shown] increasingly more extreme content and initially fed content not necessarily based upon his searching for things.”
Elmore continued, “It’s designed to engage [and so,] he was educated about the ‘White Replacement Theory,’ about the ‘Acceleration Theory,’ he saw livestreams of other mass shootings, and even at his plea of guilty and in his diary when he was planning this mass shooting, he attributed his indoctrination into the white supremacy theory and encouragement from the social media platforms he was engaged with.”
Ultimately, Elmore and his clients want social media platforms to be responsible and be able to warn users about the dangers of indoctrination and extremism. Other segments in the latest “RBN” episode included a deep dive into the lack of representation for Black men when it comes to sperm donation. Reportedly, less than 4 percent of sperm donors are Black, as highlighted recently by rapper and reality star Da Brat and her wife, Jesseca “Judy” Harris-Dupart, via their IVF journey. Also, “RBN” took an extensive look at Black people turning to psychedelics (i.e. acid, mushrooms and ketamine) for mental health treatment and an insightful look at whether or not “wokeness” is ruining the business of being funny.
Be sure to catch new installments of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app. Plus, watch a quick clip from this week’s episode above.