White Lives Matter earned their label of a hate group

Gabby Sanchez

On Aug. 22, the hate group White Lives Matter stood outside of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s office in Houston with demands that they denounce the Black Lives Matter movement. They carried confederate flags, assault rifles and white-supremacist signs, including one that said “14 words” which references the slogan, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” Police eventually broke up the protest later in the afternoon.

This WLM group is just the one of many that have sprouted up over the last few years in reaction to the BLM protests against police violence. WLM was recently labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who tracks extremist and hate groups across the country. For many, this did not come as a shock; their overt racism and use of violent language against minorities makes them well-deserving of this label. However, some in the U.S. have been calling Black Lives Matter a hate group, urging the SPLC to give them the same labeling. But they have refused.

So what makes White Lives Matter different than the group Black Lives Matter? There is only a one word difference between their names, but there are 100 years between their ideologies. It all lies in the motives of these groups. For BLM, the movement centers around justice and equality between the races and an end to racial violence in the U.S.. WLM focuses on the superiority of the white and incites violence against many minority groups in the U.S. including black individuals, Muslims and Hispanics with the goal of preservation of the white race. Many leaders of the WLM groups have ties to other white supremacy groups in America, like Rebecca Barnette, the leader of the Tennessee WLM, who is involved in the Aryan Strikeforce and the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi group in America.

Many cite the shooting in Dallas back in July, that occurred during a BLM rally and resulted in the death of five police officers, as reasoning behind the claims that BLM is a hate group that wants to harm white police officers. However, this incident did not reflect the attitudes and wants of the participants in the rally. Instead, it combated the overall positive mood of the night between police and the protestors.

The pushback against BLM and calling it an anti-white organization comes from a lack of understanding of the group’s message. Many are against them because they believe that BLM is anti-white and anti-police. However, this is simply not true and has never been a part of their message. They are not against the police; they are against police violence. It’s always been about justice and equality in the eyes of the law, which is something that as a society, everyone could benefit from.

There needs to be an elimination of the idea that because black lives matter, white lives do not — it’s an “also” not a “more.” It’s this building of walls and division that prevents peace and compromise between both sides of the issue. We all need to try to better understand one another and our different struggles, then help one another in alleviating them — and only then will true progress be achieved.