Local faith leader, psychologist have simple solution for violence from ‘Great Replacement’ theory

Crisis psychologist says America shouldn't return to rules espoused by Adolf Hitler 86 years ago

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Buffalo mass shooting suspect Payton Gendron left behind a manifesto, claiming “The Great Replacement” theory motivated his alleged actions of shooting ten African-Americans.

The racially-motivated shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo has some in Chattanooga trying to come up with solutions to stop them from happening here.

A recent Associated Press poll shows a third of all Americans believe the country is targeting White males, and replacing them with people of other races or religions.

It’s a theory that has a population growing in number, volume, and violence.

“You will not replace us.”

The words from those believing in the Great Replacement theory. Those words grew to action.

In Pittsburgh.

El Paso.

Now Buffalo.

The Great Replacement Theory was popularized by a book in 2011 by French author Renaud Camus, generally explaining the White male is being demographically and culturally replaced with minorities or immigrants, and the plan is masterminded by Jews.

Locally, one faith leader says not only is that false, but Jews actually have a mantra to leave the world better than you came into it. They have a way to achieve that.

Michael Dzik, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, says “Have conversations. Reach out to people. Make friends with these people because they’re just like you and I are. We are just Americans, trying to make a living, trying to take care of our children, trying to make a better place…”

Several news articles trace the roots of the Great Replacement Theory to eugenics and Nazi Germany. Sam Bernard, Ph.D., a local crisis psychologist, says we shouldn’t return to an 86-year-old idea.

“Don’t go back down that road. We’ve been there before. We know where it goes, and it’s not pleasant for anybody. So, let’s learn from history and not go down that road again.”

The road both Bernard and Dzik say we should travel is one that is Biblical in nature: show everyone that they have value by treating our neighbors as we would ourselves.

Bernard: “It’s going to be important for us to keep perspective about who we are, how we got here and be respectful of one another.”

Dzik: “If we just treated people as friends, acquaintances, people that we can get to know, even with the disagreements we might have, what a better world this would be.”

Dzik wants leaders of all faiths and races to stand together to combat the increase in racially-motivated attacks.

He says that would mark the beginning of Chattanooga’s Art of Neighboring.

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