Sunday, a group of White Lives Matter protesters staged a demonstration outside of a NAACP office in Houston, Texas. The group, which was armed with rifles, Confederate flags, and signs with white supremacists slogans, took to the streets of the historically Black neighborhood to accuse the civil rights organization of supporting violence against Whites.
“We’re not out here to instigate or start any problems,” organizer Ken Reed told the Houston Chronicle. “Obviously we’re 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. We definitely will defend ourselves, but we’re not out here to start any problems.”
While there’s been no such call from the NAACP, or any other civil rights group– including Black Lives Matter–to indiscriminately shoot anyone, Reed and his fellow demonstrators set up shop anyway.
The White Lives Matter protest was met with criticism and scorn on Twitter, with many calling the demonstration an attempt to derail the conversation from the movement to protect Black lives. One Twitter user, filmmaker Xavier Burgin, summed up the difference between White Lives Matter activists and Black Lives Matter participants.
Jesse Williams also commented on the protest, correctly calling it a “great display of weakness.”
Of all the things they could do on a Sunday, this century, they chose to organize this great display, of weakness. https://t.co/I4iMZfgTR7
— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) August 21, 2016
Williams has spoken at length about the need for police reform and the recent movements that have called on law enforcement agencies to improve the ways in which they deal with communities of color.
“A system built to divide, impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do,” Williams said back in June after being honored at the BET Awards. “It’s kinda basic mathematics: The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.”
A graduate of Temple University’s famed African American studies department, Williams’ tweet about Sunday’s White Lives Matter protest succinctly sums up exactly why anti-Black Lives Matter rhetoric isn’t about caring for all lives, but rather silencing Black ones.