'Safety is disappearing': Racist 'Great Replacement' theory targets Fargo's Liberian immigrants
The Great Replacement theory has not only achieved prominence among White supremacist and White nationalist groups — it has been enthusiastically promoted by some prominent Republicans, from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to Rep. Elise Stefanik of Upstate New York. And in Fargo, North Dakota, according to Washington Post reporter Danielle Paquette, it is having real-life consequences for some Liberian immigrants who now fear for their safety.
Paquette, in an article published on November 28, reports that Manny Behyee and other Liberian immigrants in Fargo have “tried to keep a low profile since someone — a stranger? a neighbor? — distributed hundreds of fliers labeling them a threat to White children.”
“A mile away, people woke up one September morning to small plastic bags on their lawns containing a picture of a Liberian man who had recently been convicted of killing a 14-year-old girl in Fargo,” Paquette reports. “The caption invoked a racist theory that foreigners of color are ‘replacing’ White Americans in the United States: ‘THE GREAT REPLACEMENT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.’ The victim’s father had appeared in court with who he called ‘pro-White advocates.’ Anti-Black stickers and graffiti showed up on streetlights and buildings, including the international grocery store where Behyee shopped.”
Paquette notes that Behyee, a 37-year-old hospital chef, immigrated to the United States after surviving “two civil wars” in Liberia — only to fear for his safety in Fargo.
Behyee told the Washington Post, “I came here for safety. It feels like the safety is disappearing.”
The Great Replacement theory has origins in France, where White nationalist Renaud Camus’ book “Le Grand Remplacement” (“The Great Replacement”) was published in 2011. According to Camus’ conspiracy theory, French liberals and progressives were making a concerted effort to “replace” Whites with non-White immigrants in France. And the Great Replacement theory made its way to the United States, where it quickly caught on among White nationalists and White supremacists.
Carlson and Stefanik have promoted their own version of the Great Replacement theory, claiming that Democrats are trying to replace Americans with voters from other countries in the hope that they’ll vote Democrat.
“Behyee wasn’t sure what ‘Great Replacement’ meant until he asked a co-worker,” Paquette notes. “The definition bewildered him: People actually believed that Western elites, controlled by Jews, were plotting a ‘migrant invasion’ to wrest power from conservative White voters? The theory hinged on the idea that all Black immigrants backed Democrats, which he found laughable: Behyee hoped to vote for Donald Trump in 2024. A Lutheran charity had brought most of his Liberian friends to North Dakota so they could live in peace — not fulfill the electoral bidding of imaginary puppet masters.”
Paquette adds, “Behyee’s exasperation — ‘ridiculous! just ridiculous!’ — chilled to fear upon reading about the mass shooters who have referenced the Great Replacement.”
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