A group of protesters calling themselves White Lives Matter staged a protest in Houston on Sunday, with some members armed and waving Confederate flags, in front of the NAACP headquarters in a largely black neighborhood in the city, The Houston Chronicle is reporting.
About 20 people turned up in front of the building in the city’s predominantly black Third Ward to protest what they see as a failure by the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to properly “reign in” the Black Lives Matter movement. Protester Ken Reed, acting as a sort of spokesman for the group, explains:
“We came out here to protest against the NAACP and their failure in speaking out against the atrocities that organizations like Black Lives Matter and other pro-black organizations have caused the attack and killing of white police officers, the burning down of cities and things of that nature. If they’re going to be a civil rights organization and defend their people, they also need to hold their people accountable.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 22, 2016
As of this writing, Black Lives Matter has not, in fact, burned down any cities, and the movement has not supported or endorsed the killing of any police officers, white or otherwise.
Similarly, the NAACP, while devoted to improving the lives of African Americans, like Black Lives Matter, is not in any way connected to Black Lives Matter. Neither organization is accountable to the other.
Reed also insisted that, by being armed, he was merely exercising his 2nd Amendment right to bear arms – a right that, in Texas, extends to being able to legally carry a firearm in the open.
“We’re not out here to instigate or start any problems.”
White Lives Matter group stages protest in Houston https://t.co/CnKwfKoYAS pic.twitter.com/5gbkNwG1Xj
— WAFF 48 (@waff48) August 22, 2016
And as for the Confederate flags present at the rally: Reed insists that they are not intended to be taken as a sign of racism, but are meant to be seen as a symbol of Southern heritage.
“It has nothing to do with racism on our part. We’re proud to be Southern. It has all to do about heritage, nothing to do with hate.”
Despite Reed’s insistence that the rally was not about racism, the protest was not short on racist symbolism. Some protesters wore shirts bearing symbols remarkably similar to what is known as the Blood Drop Cross, which is described by the Anti Defamation League as a symbol of racism and hate. Similarly, another protester held a sign that simply said “14 Words” – a reference to a popular white supremacist slogan that is made up of, well, 14 words.
“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Fortunately, there was no violence associated with the event, although a few African Americans did try to engage to protesters in conversation. One asked Reed if he (Reed) was aware that white people, worldwide, have an advantage over other races when it comes to nutrition and food distribution. Another listed off a list of African Americans killed by white police officers in recent months. Another asked how the group could claim not to be racist while at the same time bearing the Confederate flag. Another took exception to White Lives Matter holding a protest in a black neighborhood.
“Do we come to your neighborhoods?”
By about 3:30 P.M. Sunday afternoon, police had broken up the rally. Another impromptu rally sprung up in its place, as a handful of African Americans, and a handful of white people who weren’t part of the protest, held hands and prayed together at a church across the street.
[AP Photo/Dave Martin, File]