′White Lives Matter′ to be classified as hate group | News | DW | 30.08.2016
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'White Lives Matter' to be classified as hate group

The Southern Poverty Law Center has said it will place "White Lives Matter" on its list of monitored hate groups. The group opposes "race mixing" and is reportedly active in several areas throughout the United States.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization in the United States that tracks extremist groups, confirmed on Tuesday "White Lives Matter" will be added to its list of hate groups.

"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, the director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project told The New York Times.

"They're against integration, immigration. This is standard white supremacist stuff," she said.

The "White Lives Matter" website says the group "supports breeding practices that improve fitness," opposes "race mixing" and advocates for information concerning so-called "white genocide." But the group simultaneously denies supporting white supremacy.

The SPLC is set to release a full list of the group's chapters in February of next year, as well as adding them to their "Hate Group Map," which documents the locations of various extremist groups around the US.

Neo-Nazi leadership

"White Lives Matter" formed as a direct response to the "Black Lives Matter" movement in the United States.

Although many called for Black Lives Matter to be classified as a hate group following the targeted killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the SPLC determined the group was not a hate group.

Richard Cohen, president of the SPLC, wrote in July that there is "nothing at all to suggest that the bulk of the demonstrators hold supremacist or black separatist views."

The movement, he added, focused on the premise that "black lives also matter."

A Trump supporter holds up a 'White Lives Matter' sign during a rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

A Donald Trump supporter holds up a "White Lives Matter" sign at a rally

"White Lives Matter," on the other hand, reportedly has direct links to larger neo-Nazi organizations in the US, according to the Law Center.

They identified one of White Lives Matter's main leaders as 40-year-old Rebecca Barnette. The Tennessee native is also a leader within the skinhead group Aryan Strikeforce and the National Socialist Movement, which is the US' largest neo-Nazi group.

The group has been known to launch social media campaigns against Black Lives Matter, sell "White Lives Matter" merchandise to fund white supremacist groups, and has distributed flyers reading, "It's not racist to love your own people."

Concerning the group's rising popularity, Beirich pointed to the heated rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"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," Beirich told the "New York Times."

"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," she added.

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