Over the past weekend, several white nationalist groups “attempted” to organize for a ‘White Lives Matter’ rally held in Shelbyville, Tennessee. They thought they were going to come out and show some intimidating force proclaiming their misguided white supremacist rhetoric. However it appears they didn’t anticipate the push back of the counter protestors in Shelbyville.
Apparently the counter protesters were more efficient in this protest than the actual group they were protesting. Counter protesters showed up this past Saturday at 8 am ready to face off against Nazis. Even two hours, they white Nationalist groups still did not show. When they finally started to show up around 10:30am, counter protestors started to mock and taunt them.
“Some master race,” one counter protester snickered. “Can’t even show up on time.”
The rally was a second attempt by several national white supremacist groups. Many Shelbyville residents were anxious about how many would show up. Given the tragic events in Charlottesville, many did not know what to expect this past weekend. Thankfully, it turned out that the groups who travelled the rural highway south from Nashville were all bark and no bite.
Organizers of the rally included the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group; the Traditionalist Worker Party, Anti-Communist Action, a right-wing group which believes that America is being threatened by communists; and Vanguard America, a white supremacist group that believes America is inherently a white nation that must be preserved. According to these groups, the rally was to be specifically about immigration and refugee policies.
While rally organizers had anticipated about 175 people, Tennessee’s racial justice and liberal groups were unsure of how many of their members would attend. Ultimately it appeared that about 300 people attended, while only about 100 “White Lives Matter” attendees showed up. Both sides got loud, but thankfully no violence had erupted. The police had set up an elaborate barricade system keeping the white supremacists and protesters on opposite sides of the street. Police formed a line between the groups, as other officers with large weapons perched on nearby rooftops.
The initial plan for the rally that day was to have speakers address the assembled white supremacists. At certain moments, speakers spouted rhetoric about a supposed “genocide” which they claim is being perpetrated against “the white race” and “white Southern culture.” One speaker complained that black Americans often say the n-word, but when he does, people are offended. The speaker after him railed against Black History Month.
Counter protestors spent the entire morning disrupting the proceedings of the rally and it’s speakers. They were mocking the rally and drowning it out with music. They played the “Ghostbusters” song, Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” and the theme song to “Jeopardy.” When the rally’s speakers tried to address the crowd they were drown out by “black lives matter” chants.
“Yo, Nazis!” a counterprotester with a megaphone shouted. “How does it feel knowing your daughters are probably all at home listening to rap music and hanging out with their black boyfriends right now?”
Realizing that the counter protestors would not let up, the rally organizers decide that they would shut things down early. Their second attempt at this ‘White Lives Matter’ gathering was yet another fail. In Murfreesboro, about 20 minutes away, a second set of counterprotesters lined the roadway, ready to challenge attendees of the second rally. But the rally didn’t happen; the bus of white supremacists never showed up.