While Black Lives Matter continues to be the topic of national progressive and race debate, with its participants appearing in numerous media outlets while collecting generous donations from the likes of George Soros, its diametrical opposite, White Lives Matter - a group which calls itself an opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement - has just been declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks extremist groups in the United States.
"I can't speak to how many chapters will be listed, but it's clear that the leadership of the group, the ends of the group -- it's just a flat-out white supremacist group," said Heidi Beirich, director of the center's Intelligence Report, in an interview with Chron.com. "The White Lives Matter website says their movement is dedicated to the preservation of the white race. That tells you all you need to know,” Beirich added cited by the NYT. "They’re against integration, immigration. This is standard white supremacist stuff."
"The ideology behind it, the racist leaders, everything about it is racist," Beirich has concluded.
According to the NYT, the group, which grew out of a social media meme, argues that white Americans are victims of a genocide caused by factors like the immigration of nonwhite people and marriage between white Christians and nonwhites or Jews, Ms. Beirich said. The law center’s designation is meant to draw attention to and increase scrutiny of the group’s activities. Last week, its members held a protest outside the Houston office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to demand that it denounce Black Lives Matter, according to video posted online by the group. The Houston Chronicle reported that some of the protesters carried assault rifles and Confederate flags.
Researchers with the law center said White Lives Matter had been promoted by the Aryan Renaissance Society, a group in Texas that is a member of the United Aryan Front, a white nationalist coalition.
Beirich said the center’s designation focused on one chapter of the group based in Nashville that is led by Rebecca Barnette, a leader of the Aryan Strikeforce, a skinhead group, and the National Socialist Movement, America’s largest neo-Nazi group. Barnette did not respond to a NYT email seeking comment on Monday, but White Lives Matter posted several videos criticizing the Southern Poverty Law Center to its YouTube channel in the past two days. One video described White Lives Matter’s members as “just the guy next door.”
Ms. Barnette described herself as White Lives Matter’s co-founder in her profile on Vk.com, a Russian social networking site preferred by white nationalists for its lenient approach to posts that contain racist content. She said the group’s name had “been picked up by several other groups who are doing their own things with it.” Mark Pitcavage, a researcher at the Anti-Defamation League, agreed that the phrase had spread beyond the group.
“White Lives Matter is a concept around which you can organize an event without necessarily being a formal organization,” he said. “It is essentially the sum of the number of people who have done actions in the name of White Lives Matter.” “For white supremacists, ‘White Lives Matter’ is an obvious meme, so they will use it,” he said.
Hate groups have been steadily on the rise since 1999, starting with 457 groups identified by the SPLC. The center says the number exploded around the turn of the century "driven in part by anger over Latino immigration and demographic projections showing that whites will no longer hold majority status in the country by around 2040." The number of hate groups peaked in 2011 with 1,018 identified groups, before decreasing and reaching its lowest point of 784 groups in 2014. However, that number is back on the rise, with 892 groups identified in 2015.
So why is the SPLC branding White Lives Matter a hate group and ignoring Black Lives Matter?
Short answer: the center says the Black Lives Matter movement is not a hate group because it seeks to promote a race that has been marginalized throughout history (in other words, black lives also matter.) Plus, the center points out the movement's leaders have condemned violence.
The center also absolved itself by saying that "thousands of white people across America – indeed, people of all races – have marched in solidarity with African Americans during BLM (Black Lives Matter) marches, as is clear from the group's website."
The irony, of course, as many have pointed out is that if indeed the Black Lives Matter movement is so intent in its mission, namely explaining to the world that black lives matter, why did Chicago just record its most violent month in 20 years, as a result of hundreds of mostly black people shot, killed or wounded? Or is the group's mission merely to explain to whites how black lives matter, even as thousands of inner-city mostly black males die every year, without anyone as much as batting an eyelid.