White Lives Matter (WLM) is a white supremacist slogan that emerged in 2015 as a reaction to the Black Lives Matter social justice movement that started a few years prior.[1] The phrase has been used by neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan groups, and other white supremacists to recruit new members into white supremacist movements and demonstrations.[1][2] Proponents of the slogan argue that they use it to raise awareness against a supposed "white genocide" and build support for a white ethnostate,[3] and it has been frequently found at "pro-white" rallies across the United States.[1]

White Lives Matter logo

Rallies edit

Netherlands edit

Election posters edit

During the 2022 Dutch municipal elections in Rotterdam, stickers containing the untranslated phrase "White Lives Matter" or "traitor" (Dutch: landverrader) were put on election posters belonging to the 50Plus, DENK, GroenLinks and PvdA parties. They made a joint statement and filed criminal complaints with the police, who investigated.[4][5] National party leaders Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA) and Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks) distanced themselves from the texts. The stickers referred to a Telegram group named after the phrase which had spread other stickers in other localities, including one claiming "Race-mixing is white genocide".[5]

Bridge projection edit

On New Year's Eve 2022-2023, the untranslated phrase was projected onto the Erasmus Bridge, among other racist slogans including the Fourteen Words and "black pete did nothing wrong" (Dutch: zwarte piet deed niets verkeerd). Police believe it was done from a boat. The Public Prosecution Service started an investigation.[6][7]

United Kingdom edit

The phrase WLM has also been active in the United Kingdom, albeit with a low turnout.[8] On June 22, 2020, as players, with "Black Lives Matter" printed on their shirts in place of their names, were taking the knee before kick off to a Burnley F.C. away match to Manchester City, a plane flew over the Etihad Stadium carrying the banner "White Lives Matter Burnley".[9] The incident was widely condemned by football authorities and anti-racism campaigners, who described the banner as racist and divisive. The next month, the pilot and his wife were both fired from their workplaces for having made racist social media posts.[10] Later in the month, a "White Lives Matter" slogan was etched into a park hillside in Bedworth, England. Police, who were treating it as racially-aggravated criminal damage and a hate crime, were aware of footage on social media appearing to show someone in clothing "resembling a Ku Klux Klan outfit" at the same site.[11] In response to the use of the phrase "White Lives Matter," many individuals and organizations in the UK have emphasized the need to promote inclusivity and equality for all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background.

United States edit

California edit

In April 2021, a rally in Huntington Beach, California, organized by a group called the "White Lives Matter Foundation," drew a small crowd of supporters and a much larger group of counter-protesters.[12] The event remained largely peaceful, but there were some clashes between the two groups and several arrests were made. In May 2021, a similar rally organized by the same group in Raleigh, North Carolina, was canceled due to low turnout and concerns about potential violence.[13] A counter-protest organized by local anti-fascist groups still took place, but it also had a relatively small turnout.

In October 2023, during the Israel–Hamas war, around seven members of White Lives Matter California held a demonstration on a bridge in Walnut Creek, holding up signs reading "No More Wars for I$rael" and promoting the neo-Nazi propaganda film Europa: The Last Battle.[14]

Ohio edit

Church arson edit

On March 25, 2023, Molotov cocktails and an explosive were used in an attempt to burn down the Chesterland Community Church in Ohio. Aimenn D. Penny, 20, of Alliance, Ohio, was arrested based on cell phone data location and charged with the arson meant to prevent the church's hosting of a drag show performance. A search of his home turned up Nazi flags and a "White Lives Matter, Ohio," tee shirt.[15]

Tennessee edit

Two White Lives Matter rallies were planned to take place on October 28, 2017, in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee.[16][17] These rallies involved the National Socialist Movement, Traditionalist Worker Party, League of the South, and Vanguard America, all sometimes collectively known as the Nationalist Front.[16][18] Many of these groups had been involved in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, 2017.[16]

Group leaders stated their purpose was to address the "ongoing problem of refugee resettlement in Middle Tennessee," failure to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, the removal of Sudan from the list of countries in the Trump travel ban, fight against the DREAM Act, as well as the Burnette Chapel shooting by Sudanese native Emmanuel Sampson.[17]

The Shelbyville rally involved about 100 White Lives Matter supporters and about 200 counter-protestors.[19]

The afternoon event in Murfreesboro was canceled by the organizers; the authorities estimated that around 800 to 1000 people took part in the anti-racist march and counter-protest.[19]

In addition, local community and faith activists organized an off-site rally under the moniker of "Murfreesboro Loves". Hundreds participated in the event in support of refugees and minorities.[20]

Other locations edit

In 2021, "White Lives Matter" rallies were held in Raleigh, North Carolina; Philadelphia; New York City; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Fort Worth, Texas. These rallies had counter-protestors outnumber the far-right attendance, in at least one instance there were hundreds of counter protestors.[2]

World's Indigenous Peoples day edit

A growing number of White nationalist groups around the world have held an annual White Lives Matter activism which coincides with the United Nations designated International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples observed on 9 August each year. The UK's Patriotic Alternative and New Zealand's Action Zealandia have done this.[21][22]

Involvement with the media edit

The "White Lives Matter" movement has received some media coverage, but much of it has been critical and has focused on the movement's ties to white nationalism and white supremacy.[23][24] Some members of the movement have used social media to organize rallies and events and to promote their ideology. In recent years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have taken steps to remove content promoting hate speech, including content related to the "White Lives Matter" movement.[25]

Usage edit

Kanye West edit

On October 3, 2022, during his Yeezy SZN 9 fashion show in Paris, Kanye West wore a shirt with the slogan "White Lives Matter" written on it,[26][27] a move described by Forbes as controversial.[28] Conservative commentator Candace Owens posed for a photo with West wearing a matching shirt with the slogan.[26][27] He explained his choice in the following way: "At a certain point, it felt like I saw White people wearing shirts that said Black Lives Matter, like, they were doing me such a favor by having a t-shirt that reminded me that my life mattered. Like I didn't already know that. So, I thought I'd return the favor and let White people know, that hey, your life matters, too."[29]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "White Lives Matter". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "'White Lives Matter' rallies flop as hardly anyone shows up". NBC News. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "White Lives Matter". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  4. ^ "Rotterdamse partijen doen aangifte van racistische stickers op posters" (in Dutch). NOS. February 28, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Groenendijk, Peter (February 28, 2022). "Leefbaar noemt ophef over racistische stickers hypocriet: 'Wij maken dit al veel langer mee'". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch).
  6. ^ "Racistische leuzen geprojecteerd op Erasmusbrug in Rotterdam tijdens jaarwisseling" (in Dutch). RTL Nieuws. January 1, 2023.
  7. ^ "OM: racistische uitingen Erasmusbrug strafbaar, onderzoek gestart". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). January 3, 2023.
  8. ^ "First UK 'White Lives Matter' Margate March Sees Tiny Turnout #WLM". HuffPost. October 22, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  9. ^ Kelly, Ryan (June 24, 2020). "Explained: Why 'White Lives Matter' and 'All Lives Matter' misses the point of Black Lives Matter". Goal.com. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  10. ^ Polden, Jake (June 24, 2020). "Burnley fan behind White Lives Matter banner is sacked from his job". mirror. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  11. ^ "'White Lives Matter' slogan put on Bedworth park hillside". BBC. June 29, 2020. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  12. ^ Cook, Peter (August 31, 2021), "Los Angeles", Lives in Architecture, London: RIBA Publishing, pp. 83–96, retrieved May 9, 2023
  13. ^ "Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Mobilizes Legal Observer Program to Protect Protesters During Families Belong Together Rally". Human Rights Documents Online. Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  14. ^ Hosseini, Raheem (November 10, 2023). "Neo-Nazis are exploiting the Israel-Hamas conflict to stoke another crisis: A 'race war'". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 5, 2023. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  15. ^ Member of pro-Nazi group used Molotov cocktails in attempt to burn down Ohio church planning to host a drag event, FBI says, CNN, Kia Fatahi and Liam Reilly, October 24, 2023. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  16. ^ a b c Timms, Mariah and Allison, Natalie (October 27, 2017) "White Lives Matter Murfreesboro rally: What we know now", The Tennessean
  17. ^ a b "White Supremacist Nationalist Front Plans Rallies in Tennessee". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  18. ^ Staff (October 24, 2017) "The far right returns to middle Tennessee", Southern Poverty Law Center
  19. ^ a b Lowery, Wesley (October 28, 2017) "'White Lives Matter' organizers cancel second rally after taunts from counterprotesters", The Washington Post
  20. ^ Junewicz, Nikki (October 29, 2017) "'Murfreesboro Loves' protests white nationalism from a distance", Fox17.com
  21. ^ "Far-Right Hijacks Global Indigenous Peoples Day With Racist Stunts". Vice. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  22. ^ Weir, Elliot (August 9, 2021). "Action Zealandia, NZ's largest neo-Nazi group, on the hunt for new recruits". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on September 2, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  23. ^ Bertrand, N. (2017, November 3). The ‘White Lives Matter’ Movement Has Been Linked To Extremist Killings And Domestic Terrorism. BuzzFeed News.
  24. ^ Cauterucci, C. (2016, August 30). ‘White Lives Matter’ Is About A Lot More Than Free Speech. Slate.
  25. ^ Agudelo, Felipe I.; Olbrych, Natalie (July 2022). "It's Not How You Say It, It's What You Say: Ambient Digital Racism and Racial Narratives on Twitter". Social Media + Society. 8 (3): 205630512211224. doi:10.1177/20563051221122441. ISSN 2056-3051.
  26. ^ a b Polus, Sarah (October 3, 2022). "Ye, Candace Owens wear 'White Lives Matter' shirts at Paris Fashion week". The Hill. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  27. ^ a b Cowen, William Trace (October 3, 2022). "Kanye West Wears 'White Lives Matter' T-Shirt Design at YZY Season 9 Presentation". Complex Networks. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  28. ^ Dellatto, Marisa (October 3, 2022). "Kanye West Wears 'White Lives Matter' Shirt At Yeezy Fashion Show". Forbes. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  29. ^ "Kanye West Explains "White Lives Matter," Anti-BLM Stance". Hot New Hiphop. October 6, 2022. Retrieved November 25, 2022.

External links edit