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Southern Poverty Law Center Declares White Lives Matter a Hate Group

"They’re against integration, immigration. This is standard white supremacist stuff."

Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

White Lives Matter, a white nationalist group, has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks extremist groups within the United States.

According to a report from the New York Times, White Lives Matter, which began as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, is a group that argues white Americans are the victims of genocide caused by immigration of nonwhite people and marriage between white and nonwhite Christians and Jews.

"The White Lives Matter website says their movement is dedicated to the preservation of the white race. That tells you all you need to know," Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, told the Times. "They’re against integration, immigration. This is standard white supremacist stuff."

Image source: WhiteLivesMatter.com

Researchers at the SPLC have determined the White Lives Matter group is promoted by the Aryan Renaissance Society, which is a Texas group associated with the United Aryan Front, a white nationalist coalition. The group first gained notoriety on social media when #WhiteLivesMatter became a trending response to Black Lives Matter's presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Beirich said the SPLC has seen an uptick in the number of white supremacist groups over the past year — an increase she attributes to the racially charged rhetoric of this year's presidential campaign cycle, specifically Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president.

"Certainly we’ve got people who are much more energized in a way that didn’t exist before, and that’s all because of the presidential campaign," she said. "Trump has given these people hope they didn’t have before that they could influence politics or that they would at least be listened to."

Mark Pitcavage, a researcher at the Anti-Defamation League, in agreement with the official White Lives Matter co-founder Rebecca Barnette, a member of the skinhead group Aryan Strikeforce and the neo-Nazi organization National Socialist Movement, said the "White Lives Matter" phrase has expanded past the group.

"White Lives Matter is a concept around which you can organize an event without necessarily being a formal organization," Pitcavage said. "It is essentially the sum of the number of people who have done actions in the name of White Lives Matter."

"For white supremacists, ‘White Lives Matter’ is an obvious meme, so they will use it," he added.

Members of the official White Lives Matter group held a protest last week outside the NAACP's Houston offices, where some demonstrators reportedly showed up carrying Confederate flags and rifles, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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