A tweet by user Illuminated Niggy (@theericklouis), blaming anime for inspiring the Buffalo shooting that took place on May 14, 2022, in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, garnered a lot of attention on the microblogging platform.
The twitter user said that the Buffalo shooter’s affinity for East Asians in his manifesto made him wonder how much of a role anime subculture might have played in shaping his ideology.
“I think it’s really interesting that the buffalo shooter mentioned his affinity for east asians specifically in his manifesto. Given the context of how old he is & how active he was online, it makes me wonder how much anime subcultures played a role in his ideology,” the tweet which went viral read.
The user went on to say that anime and gaming fields went on to cater to white consumers, creating a subculture that promotes the violence against people of color.
“At the intersection of anime/manga, gaming, cosplay exists a violent anti blackness & there’s no denying that these space cater heavily to white consumers. I think it’s important to recognize how these subcultures are complicit in the violence against black bodies.”
The user, who claimed to be an anime watcher himself, added that anime afforded white people the delusion of escaping into a world without any problems, which he terms are black people.
“For a lot of white consumers, anime affords them the delusion of escaping to a world where their ‘problems’ don’t exist- often times the “problem” being blk folk. Whether intentional or not, y’all have to acknowledge the role it plays,” the user added.
However, other users were quick to point out that the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto was mostly a copy of the 2019 New Zealand shooter, adding that Illuminated Niggy’s opinions were majorly unfounded.
“You do know that his manifesto was just a copy paste of the new Zealand shooter from 2019 I don’t know why you’re trying to push this Asian festish angle. Consuming any media doesn’t turn you into a killer the dude was already not all there and just spiraled into insanity,” one user wrote.
Another user added that blaming foreign culture for America’s inability to deal with their issues was not ideal.
“Kinda a f***** up thread. Grasping at straws to blame foreign culture for America’s own inability to deal with the material conditions underlying the issues that lead to white terrorism in America,” they wrote.
“Anime is not to blame. This is just another one in a long line who fetishize Asian women and continue to perpetuate the stereotype of Asian women as “docile” and “servile”. If they knew how strong and independent Asian women actually are, they’d be changing their tune…,” a user replied on the tweet, emphasizing how anime or Japanese culture was not to blame for the fetishes that they shooter may have had.
As more anime fans began opposing the original tweet, there were users who tried to point out that it was not anime that was at fault here but instead the western subculture that was formed around it.
A discussion also began on whether anime encouraged discrimination based on race and if it promoted white supremacy.
Illuminated Niggy had previously put out a thread detailing how he felt that anime serves as an escape from “black people” for a lot of “white people” who watch it.
“I guess it makes sense why they get so agitated when they see characters drawn in color cause in their mind, the world they fantasize about is one where black folk don’t exist,” the user wrote.
On May 14, 2022, a mass shooting occurred in Buffalo, New York, at a Tops Friendly Markets store. Ten people were killed, and three others were injured; 11 of the victims were black. The shooter, identified as 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron, livestreamed the attack on Twitch.