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
2. Just. Stop.
3. I Feel Bad
4. What About White On White Crime?
5. So Are You Not Gonna Say Anything
6. Already Had A Hashtag
7. I Hate To Break It To You
8. What Happens When
9. One Hell Of A Dumb Hashtag
10. Sorry I Think Ya Misspelled
11. A Message To Anyone
11. To Anyone Supporting
12. Do You Know Who My Father Is
13. I'm Done For Today
14. Ashamed To Be White
15. You Starbucks Got Watered Down?
16. Stop Killing Us
17. Is It A Halloween Parade
18. Bigger Turnouts At Costco
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.