The #WhiteLivesMatter Hashtag Was Swamped By Twitter Users Condemning Tennessee's Racist Rallies
Say what you will about Twitter, but if there's one thing it's good at, it's ripping apart the latest foolishness of the day. Which is exactly what's been happening on Saturday ― Twitter users took over the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag, with both the protest and the hashtag itself drawing mockery, criticism, and disdain.
The hashtag started trending thanks to a far-right protest of the same name that was going down in Tennessee on Saturday, one in which counter-protesters reportedly swamped the white nationalists who actually showed up to promote the inflammatory cause. The event, one of two planned for this weekend, turned out at least 160 white nationalists into the streets of the city of Shelbyville, Tennessee, — reportedly less than the counter-protestors at the scence
A reactionary retort to the Black Lives Matter movement ― which does not argue that white lives don't matter, but rather that American society doesn't treat black lives as if they do ― "White Lives Matter" is a statement critics have said is shot-through with racism and misappropriated angst. And let's just say the denizens of Twitter weren't shy about saying so, swamping the hashtag with what you might call some social media counter-programming. Here are a number of the best examples, biting back against the controversial hashtag and the protest that went along with it.
1. For Those That Need A Reminder
For those that need a reminder that racism is alive and well, just look at the #WhiteLivesMatter rally and listen to their chants.— deray mckesson (@deray) October 28, 2017
2. Just. Stop.
3. I Feel Bad
I feel bad for the #WhiteLivesMatter protestors bc they:— Sonya Desai (@SonyaDesai) October 28, 2017
1) have no real Sat plans
2) clearly sad & lonely
3) def not getting laid tn
4. What About White On White Crime?
You say #WhiteLivesMatter, but 84% of white people killed every year are killed by other white people. What about white on white crime? 🤔— Viral Manner (@AllOfManner) October 28, 2017
5. So Are You Not Gonna Say Anything
6. Already Had A Hashtag
7. I Hate To Break It To You
If you're tweeting #WhiteLivesMatter earnestly, then I hate to break it to you but your life super for sure does not matter.— 🏳️🌈Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) October 28, 2017
8. What Happens When
The hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter is what happens when right-wing persecution complex and "reverse racism" get together and procreate.— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) October 28, 2017
9. One Hell Of A Dumb Hashtag
As a very white, Irish+Italian dude who’s proud of his heritage and family history...#whitelivesmatter is 1 hell of a dumb hashtag. We know.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) October 28, 2017
10. Sorry I Think Ya Misspelled
Sorry I think ya misspelled "I'm a bigot who needs to sit down" when you were tying the words "White Live Matter". Ooops. #WhiteLivesMatter— Patrick Ryan (@thepatrickryan_) October 28, 2017
11. A Message To Anyone
11. To Anyone Supporting
12. Do You Know Who My Father Is
White Lives Matter is the do you know who my father is of protests.— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) October 28, 2017
13. I'm Done For Today
14. Ashamed To Be White
What the racists at the #WhiteLivesMatter rally don't understand is that they make the majority of white people feel ashamed to be white.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) October 28, 2017
15. You Starbucks Got Watered Down?
16. Stop Killing Us
17. Is It A Halloween Parade
Is it a white lives matter protest OR is it a Halloween parade where everyone is dressed up as a sad idiot?— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) October 28, 2017
18. Bigger Turnouts At Costco
200 people? Is that even a rally? I've seen bigger turnouts at Costco on Saturday. #WhiteLivesMatter— BG (@SchoolPsychGuy) October 28, 2017
The protests in Tennessee were, by all accounts, not terribly successfuly as an overwhelming show of force ― to the contrary, the white nationalist and supremacist demonstrators were reportedly overwhelmed and drowned-out by mockery and music, with Beyonce and Bob Marley being particularly popular tracks. Needless to say, those particular artists probably weren't very popular at a far-right event geared towards attracting white nationalists.
As for the second of the two protests planned for this weekend, its organizers have reportedly cancelled it. This doesn't necessarily mean nobody will show up, to be clear ― it would obviously be in the best interests of the far-right demonstrators for anti-racist counter-protesters to believe the event wouldn't be taking place, given the overwhelming turnout they saw on Saturday. The fewer counter-protesters show up, the more forceful and thriving the White Lives Matter crowd are likely to look, after all.
As it stands now, however, white supremacist demonstrations are quite regularly not measuring up to the kind of massive backlash they're bringing about. Ever since the deadly events at the Charlottesville "Unite The Right" protest that saw an anti-racist demonstrator killed ― 32-year-old Heather Heyer ― planned far-right protests have been met with overwhelming opposing responses, perhaps most prominently in Boston.
It remains to be seen where the next high-profile right-wing rally of this sort will take place, and whether it's similarly met with an excess of counter-protesters, has has been the case in recent protests past. This much, however, is clear: both on social media, and in the streets of Tennessee, it was not smooth sailing for the White Lives Matter crowd on Saturday afternoon.