"White Lives Matter" will soon join the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, the National Socialist Movement, and racist skinheads on the Southern Poverty Law Center's annual "hate map" which tracks the spread of hate groups across the United States.
"We are listing them because they are clearly white supremacists," Heidi Beirich, head of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, told VICE News. 'Their motto should be 'only white lives matter.'"
White Lives Matter emerged as a counter to the Black Lives Matter movement's message. Black Lives Matter erupted in the wake of several high-profile killings of black men by law enforcement. It was intended as a critique of the criminal justice system, which proponents of BLM say has historically treated African Americans unjustly.
White Lives Matter, in response, claims that whiteness is under attack. "White genocide is a phenomenon where mass third world immigration, integration by force and 24/7 race mixing propaganda are being promoted in all and only white countries to turn them non-white," WLM's website website asserts.
In a report published earlier this month, SPLC wrote that one of the faces — if not the leader — of WLM is Rebecca Barnette, a 40-year-old woman from Tennessee who is also vice president of the women's chapter of the Aryan Strikeforce, a racist skinhead group, as well as the director of the largest women's neo-Nazi group.
"Barnette, who describes herself as a "revolutionist" who is working to "create a new world" for white people, appears to run both the WLM website and the movement's Facebook page" wrote the SPLC's Senior Research AnalystSarah Viets.
The SPLC also dug up Barnette's posts on vk.com, a Russian social networking site which is known for its lack of censorship. In one post, SPLC says Barnette wrote that Jews and Muslims have made an alliance "to commit genocide of epic proportions" against the white race. Barnette called for "the blood of our enemies [to] soak our soil for new mortar to rebuild our landmasses."
Last week, a dozen or so WLM protesters gathered outside NAACP headquarters waving confederate flags. So far, SPLC notes, the movement so far remains small. It plans to grow, however, and encourages members to find like-minded individuals and organize on a grass-roots level in their communities.
White Lives Matter wasn't the only counter-slogan to emerge from BLM. First came "All Lives Matter," from those who thought that when protesters chanted "Black Lives Matter," they were really saying "Only Black Lives Matter."
Last month at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, a sniper unaffiliated with the protest opened fire on police officers. This, and another shooting that targeted officers in Baton Rouge one week later, compounded the misunderstanding that Black Lives Matter calls for violence against members of law enforcement, and as a result strengthened the burgeoning "Blue Lives Matter" movement championed by pro-policing advocates.
Amid the furor that followed, SPLC said they received a number of requests asking that they classify Black Lives Matter as a hate group. In response, they released a statement explaining why BLM was not a hate group.
"The perception that it is racist illustrates the problem," SPLC wrote. 'Our society as a whole still does not accept that racial injustice remains pervasive. And, unfortunately, the fact that white people tend to see race as a zero-sum game may actually impede progress."