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Let’s Talk About The White Lives Matter Protest Outside Of The Houston NAACP Office

It was ironic for a few reasons.

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My son John Henry and I had just enjoyed lunch at Houston’s venerable 24-hour Tex-Mex eatery Chapultepec on Sunday. The scene in the dining room had been typically Houstonian in its diversity: there were about ten aging hippies across the room—volunteers and employees of KPFT, Houston’s left-leaning community radio station. And at the table next to ours, two black couples were enjoying a late lunch. One of them got up and pumped some quarters in the jukebox, and the room soon filled with Brooks and Dunn, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson, along with a few Earth, Wind & Fire selections.

We paid the bill and left, driving aimlessly through old Houston while my son expressed excitement about his impending entry into the United States Army. He’s headed off to South Carolina next month for boot camp.

Near the corner of Wheeler Avenue and Chartres Street, we encountered a strange scene. The road was all but blocked off by the Houston Police Department, and a throng of people—mostly black—crowded the sidewalk in front of the Lutheran church on the north side of Wheeler. As we got closer, we saw a knot of about fifteen white people in a little pen, surrounded by police. And as we got closer we saw that they were waving Confederate battle flags, and some of them were armed with rifles. Meanwhile, several times as many counter-protestors heckled, chanted over conga drums, and glared.

The group was staging a “White Lives Matter” protest in front of the headquarters of Houston’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“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,” protest organizer Ken Reed told 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.”

A Facebook page listed some of the reasons for the protest:

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There is no shortage of irony in the purpose of the gathering and its location. First, on the event’s official Facebook page, it was billed as “End Minority Entitlement—#WLM.” If the protestors wanted to demonstrate that minorities are overly entitled, the demonstration’s site, right in front of the NAACP building in a section of Houston that is now rapidly gentrifying after two generations of heavy African-American presence, was a poor choice.

Beginning in the 1960s, prospering African-Americans started moving up and out of the Jim Crow Third Ward immediately to the east, into the two- and three-story brick mini-mansions of this neighborhood. By 1985, many Houstonians started thinking of the area east of Almeda as an extension of the Third Ward, meaning it was considered a “black neighborhood.”

That’s not the case anymore. The old brick houses are being torn down and replaced with even larger modern homes, most of which are owned by white professionals. Realtors have renamed it Midtown, an amorphous appellation that covers portions of Third Ward and all of Fourth Ward, the city’s oldest African-American neighborhood, which has now been all but eradicated.

According to Census figures, the white population of greater Third Ward has doubled in recent years, while its black population had declined by ten percent. So the protestors gathered to say that black lives are privileged were doing so in a neighborhood where history demonstrates otherwise.

Not that these demonstrators seemed to have grasped Houston history. Few if any of them were actually from Houston. Tracking down the protestors who gave their names to the media revealed that many of them had driven in from places like Splendora, New Caney, Humble, and Nederland to protest.

As such, they pretty much defined the concept of “outside agitators,” which city leaders across the country love to blame for riots that come in the wake of blatant injustices like the death of Freddie Gray. It was “outside agitators” (usually Communist) who “stirred up” African-Americans at the end of the Jim Crow era, per the white Southern power structure of the time.

But there they were, waving rebel flags, sporting “White Power” t-shirts, and hoisting a “14 Words” banner—a popular white power slogan that means “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” What’s uncertain is what they were agitating for. Did they think the heretofore silent Aryan warriors of Inner Loop Houston would rally to their cause? Or were they hoping to instigate a conflict? If so, they failed on both counts.

It seemed strange for the protestors to blame the NAACP for not policing groups like Black Lives Matter, who they claimed condoned the killing of white police officers in Houston, of all places. Perhaps they forgot that a year ago Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman linked Black Lives Matter to the cold-blooded murder of Darren Goforth. “We’ve heard black lives matter—all lives matter,” Hickman said at a televised news conference at the time, District Attorney Devon Anderson at his side. “Well, cops’ lives matter, too.”

Since then, the Goforth case has provided one embarrassment after another for Hickman and his department. The accused gunman, Shannon Miles, had no affiliation with Black Lives Matter—he was a mentally ill person who was able to get a gun and cause a tragedy. In February, he was ruled incompetent to stand trial.

Hickman has not apologized for his rhetoric after that shooting, only allowing that he had “regret” about his assertions about Black Lives Matter, while maintaining his belief that Goforth had been killed solely because he was in police uniform. That could well be true, but the fact remains that Goforth was murdered by a mentally unstable man who was able to get a gun, and we haven’t heard Hickman talk about the role untreated mental illness and easy access to firearms had to play in the tragedy.

That the protestors ended their official pre-event flyer with #BlueLivesMatter seemed to be an attempt at mainstreaming their message. Before the event, organizer Ken Reed posted a video (alongside the daughter Aryanna) stating which flags and banners should be brought: Texas, Confederate, and Gadsden flags, White Lives Matter banners and others reading things like “Faith, Family, Freedom and Future” and that 14 Words slogan, which came courtesy of neo-Nazi David Lane, who died in federal prison in 2007.

“Obviously there’s other symbols that we’ve used at previous rallies—we’d ask you to leave those at home for this rally,” Reed said in the video. “We are trying to reach a more mainstream audience.”

But it seems that they converted few, if any, people. Police outnumbered protestors by the time we arrived, and counter-protestors outnumbered even the cops. But they did attract plenty of attention. The story has since gone national. These couple of dozen outside agitators introduced their imported message, giving Houston an unjustified black eye, and one that plays into the utterly unfounded stereotype that this most diverse and generally ethnically harmonious of American big cities is a racist backwater.

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  • disqus_L6L4JxPDcG

    Once again nutjobs from the party of individual freedom and limited government showing how little they understand about our laws and how intrusive they actually want the government to be.

  • waynus siez

    Wow! How can TM see into this group and not the violence, rascism and bigotry BLM. No burning stores, cars and looting in Htown. She fire yall just tell it like it is!

    • space2k

      Yeah – these kind of racists wait until after their rallies are over to bomb babies at fed buildings, murder judges and their families, shoot random people, kill cops, bomb the Olympics, etc.

      • waynus siez

        You forgot to mention the gunning down of police officers in Dallas……..yer trying to throw ‘crazies’ in the conversation

  • biff

    It is no surprise that these people were from Splendora. That town has/had active KKK for years.

  • David Bianco

    DIdn’t see any agitating going on…no stores burned, no police assaulted, just a peaceful protest to make a point. Where is the NAACP when black on black crime happens? Nowhere to be found. They are racists of the worst kind, wanting people to donate to them so they can spew their idea of justice and inciting more racism among their own people.

    • objective thinker

      Just because someone black commits a crime, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are a member of NAACP, BLM or any other group. Your problem isn’t with the groups it is facing your own reality.

  • José

    Based on the list of grievances it appears that these White Patriots have no respect whatsoever for the foundational law of our great country, the Constitution of the United States. Maybe they ought to self deport.

    • Randy L

      You mean the Constitution that says we can peacefully assemble? YOU need to deport, you’re just ignorant.

    • Steven

      U blacks attack lives at your rallies

  • KublaConn

    The use of the words “…our USA flag” is very telling, no?

    • Randy L

      Yes, ours, as in Americans. You too stupid to recognize that?

  • Sandra Amador

    They have the right to protest, it’s true that BLM mostly does harm to the communities. More than helping their own people. The white people started to see how much privileges do black people actually have. It’s unbelievable, how much privileges black people has. Black history month, black dating sites, black awards, black communities, black magazines, etc, etc, etc. If a white dude made a publishing of “something” white organization , immediately all this peace brakers people would start protesting against it. Call it racist, until they would shut down the place. And this organization don’t do anything but to incite violence from minorities. I’m sick of that! Before obama was president you would never see all this nonsense from minorities. Now it’s all chaos.

    • objective thinker

      lol… you are either 70 or 12.

      • Sandra Amador

        Lol, I’m wiser than you that’s for sure. Since you obviously can’t see or understand what I do. Stupidity creates chaos like the ones you seem to support.

        • Anton Grimes

          you come across as an ignorant racist though.

        • objective thinker

          Nahhhh, you are just an opinionated bigot. If you only consider one perspective and use bias to fill in the gaps while pretending to cast judgment on or speak for an entire race, Well that ain’t wisdom.

    • Anton Grimes

      “The white people started to see how much privileges do black people actually have. It’s unbelievable, how much privileges black people has. Black history
      month, black dating sites, black awards, black communities, black
      magazines, etc, etc, etc.”

      It never ceases to amaze me people like you manage to live and breed.

  • “daughter Aryanna”

    I see what he did there.

    “Obviously there’s other symbols that we’ve used at previous rallies—we’d ask you to leave those at home for this rally,” Reed said in the video. “We are trying to reach a more mainstream audience.”

    So… swastikas? White hoods?

  • Randy L

    White people are awesome. Racists hate them because they are jealous of them.

  • Redeemed

    As.is the case with most liberals, you choose to ignore the crux/point being made, choosing rather, to personally attack and mock the protestors. BLM supports actions of violence and, at times, has been the catalyst for such actions. Either the writers at TM are unaware of such or, more likely, are choosing to ignore the outright malice and lawlessness of the group. Either way, it doesn’t serve your readers.

  • Wurty

    The Confederate flag must never be waved.

  • OM

    Barking up the wrong tree, ain’t ya?
    There is no biological nor genetic support for the existence of separate races. We are ALL one race, the human race. Get over it, you dumb focks.

  • dbonedig

    Only, the truly ignorant take advantage of the freebees given to them. You want to keep a people from having something in life, give them everything for free. Most will sit in front of the TV and become Fat Pigs. Doing nothing in their lives other than bare more little ignorant ones.