Black Lives Matter is Not a Hate Group

Head of organization that maintains list of hate groups says the 'Black Lives Matter' movement does not qualify as a hate group.

Head of organization that maintains list of hate groups says the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement does not qualify as a hate group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an organization which, among other things, gathers and reports annually a listing of and information about hate groups in the U.S. This list of hate groups is used extensively by academics, government officials, and journalists. Recently, the SPLC has received a number of requests to add Black Lives Matter (BLM) to the list of hate groups.

Addressing the requests, Richard Cohen, President of SPLC, says the requesters do not understand the nature of hate groups and of BLM. As defined by SPLC, a hate group is one that vilifies entire groups of people based on unchangeable characteristics such as race or ethnicity. He explained that most hate groups hold white supremacist views, but that there are also a number of black organizations on the hate groups list.

Cohen pointed out that thousands of white people, as well as people of all races, have marched in solidarity with African Americans during BLM marches. He noted that there was nothing to suggest that the bulk of BLM demonstrators hold black supremacist or black separatist views. To the critics who claim that the movement’s name is anti-white and that “all lives matter”, Cohen responds that black lives matter because they have been marginalized throughout our country’s history and because white lives have always mattered more in our society. As BLM puts it, the movement stands for “the simple proposition that black lives also matter.”

David French, writing in, said the peaceful activists in the BLM movement are asking that “Black lives also matter, that black people be treated with equal dignity, and that police violence and abuse be fairly investigated and prosecuted.” Writing in, Goldie Taylor said, “For the Millennial generation, ‘Black Lives Matter’ is our civil rights movement. All we want is equal protection under the law—and like our grandparents before us, we’re using nonviolent protest and civil disobedience to advance our ideals.”

Black Lives Matter is not a hate group.

That was the conclusion of Cohen, who added, “Unfortunately, our society as a whole still does not accept that racial injustice remains pervasive.”

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