A group of White Lives Matter protesters gathered in front of the NAACP offices in Houston, Texas on Sunday – some carrying signs, assault rifles, and Confederate flags. NAACP headquarters are located within Houston’s Third Ward, a predominantly Black neighborhood.
“We came out here specifically today 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,” said organizer Ken Reed in an interview with The Houston Chronicle. “If they’re going to be a civil rights organization and defend their people, they also need to hold their people accountable.”
The NAACP and Black Lives Matter have repeatedly spoken out against the recent slayings in Dallas and Baton Rouge involving police officers. As The Washington Post points out, officers fatally wounded in the recent shootings were also of Black and Latino descent.
According to The Post, the gathering spurred a counter-protest that almost doubled in size. Many took issue with the display of Confederate flags, an emblem of White supremacy.
“The Confederate flag throws me off,” Quntina Richardson, a Third Ward resident said. “You’re saying Black Lives Matter is a racist organization but when you’re throwing the Confederate flag up and saying White Lives Matter, are you saying you’re racist?”
“It has nothing to do with racism on our part,” Reed countered. “We’re proud to be Southern. It has all to do about heritage, nothing to do with hate.”
Police arrived, forming a barricade around the White Lives Matter protesters, according to The Washington Post. Reed and his supporters told reporters that they feel the country is moving towards Whites being treated unequally, which is ironically the same rallying cry Black Lives Matter members are advocating for African-Americans: equal treatment under the Constitution as promised.
The exchange didn’t just continue on the streets. Social media took up the conversation regarding “White Lives Matter,” arguing the mantra’s validity.
Others again used comparisons and examples to explicitly explain why saying “Black Lives Matter” is necessary in this social justice climate.
According to The Post, protesters were ushered out of the area around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The last people to leave the area were a group of Blacks and Whites joined in prayer outside of a church that faces the NAACP building.