A white supremacist group dubbed “White Lives Matter” has been officially listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a U.S. non-profit determined to monitor hate groups and teach tolerance, according to The New York Times.
White Lives Matter grew out of a meme and was, predictably, created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The group insists that white people have been targeted for violence and genocide due to integration, immigration and marriage between white and non-white people.
Most recently, the racist group posted a video on YouTube that covered their protest outside of the NAACP Houston office where they demanded the NAACP and Black Lives Matter movement be dissolved. The Houston Chronicle reported that members of the group carried Confederate flags and assault rifles, while The Washington Post noted that the protest organizer, Ken Reed, was wearing a "Donald Trump '16" hat and a "White Lives Matter" t-shirt. Reed told the Chronicle, "Obviously we [White Lives Matter] are exercising our Second Amendment rights but that’s because we have to defend ourselves... Their organizations and their people are shooting people based on the color of their skin. We’re not.”
If you needed any more evidence that White Lives Matter is hateful, research has shown that the group is backed by the Aryan Renaissance Society in Texas, which is linked to the white nationalist United Aryan Front, according to the Times. And the leader of the Nashville White Lives Matter chapter is Rebecca Barnette—who also holds leadership positions in two other skinhead and neo-Nazi groups. She's posted Nazi propoganda and praise for Hitler on the Russian social network VK.com.
Heidi Beirich, the director of the Intelligence Project at SPLC in Montgomery, Ala., told the Times that there are 892 active hate groups in the country. Beirich also mentioned there has been a spike in white supremacist groups within the last year due to the hype surrounding the presidential race, particularly Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric. It’s important to recognize how voting in the 2016 presidential election can dramatically increase or decrease the power of hate groups like it in the future.