#White Lives Matter: Yes, The Flyers Are Racist

The discovery Thursday morning of anonymous flyers — saying only “#White Lives Matter” — disturbed Westporters in the Compo Beach and Roseville Road areas.

The reaction to yesterday’s “06880” story was mixed. Some commenters were stunned, ashamed, appalled and angry.

Flyers like these were tossed onto lawns in Westport early Thursday morning.

Flyers like these were tossed onto lawns in Westport early Thursday morning.

Others complained of an over-reaction. “All lives matter,” they noted. They said this was political correctness run amok, and wondered why anyone assumed the flyer was “racist.”

As the story reported, similar flyers were distributed equally anonymously — in Ziploc bags, weighted with pebbles — in Milford a few days earlier.

There was one difference. While the Westport flyers said only “#White Lives Matter,” the Milford flyers included more text. They said:

America is under attack. This fact has been known for some time. Each year, we the American people lose more rights. Each election we get sold out and stabbed in the back. Between misfits robbing us and the government taxing us, we the honest hardworking Americans are barely getting by. Tired of being tired, and sick of being sick, Americans united in 1987 to form The Nationalist Movement. And ever since, it has served the American people proudly.

While other groups pop up only to vanish, The Nationalist Movement continues striding to unify the American people and liberate us from the communist regime that is currently occupying our White House and Congress Halls. The American people have been shackled with chains of “equality”, beaten bloody with the whip of “diversity”, and forced to bow a knee before the tyrants ruining our homeland.

However, Americans all across this sacred nation are arising, to make a difference. This exclusive organization carries the Red, White, and Blue with the same pride that our fore fathers did. And in doing so, we vow to never let the Amrican [sic]  dream perish.

There was a link for the Nationalist Movement website. The site shows photos of a flag that looks like a cross between a cross and a swastika.

Nationalist Movement

On the home page, there is a link to “Racist America Radio.”

This Radio show is for activists, not those who are lukewarm, sell outs, or inactive keyboard commando’s [sic]. This is real life activism, in the public, without police protection. We are friends to only the truly sincere devotees of freedom. We stand with only the true zealots for our people.

So yeah, there is a racist element to the flyers.

Perhaps the Westport flyers were just a juvenile, copycat attempt?

Probably not. Both flyers used the exact same typeface and 3-line style.

The Westport (left) and Milford (right) flyers.

The Westport (left) and Milford (right) flyers.

Meanwhile, Westporters swung into action.

Yesterday afternoon, representatives from TEAM Westport, houses of worship, Staples High School, the Westport library, the town Social Services department, and community members gathered at the Saugatuck Church to frame a response.

They are drafting a joint statement. They’re organizing a community conversation at the library (Sunday, May 17, 4 p.m.). Additional steps will follow.

Clergy have been encouraged to speak about the incident in services this weekend.

They’re also compiling a webpage of resources — blog entries, videos, podcasts, etc. — to provide history and context for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

More will follow.

All lives matter. Including those that stand up against vile, offensive, and very racist behavior.

(Hat tip: Dan Donovan)

34 responses to “#White Lives Matter: Yes, The Flyers Are Racist

  1. Bruce Fernie - SHS 1970

    WELL THEN… there is the difference between a racist ‘flyer’ distributed by lowlife scum and one that could be considered innocuous…

  2. Robert Mitchell

    #White Lives Matter. #BlackLivesMatter.
    Why not #All Lives Matter?

  3. I’ve been waiting for Westporters to unearth more on this story – I tried very hard not to have any knee jerk reaction to this but to wait to see the motivation of this flyer. I’ve never heard of this “Nationalist Movement” and grateful to know about it. Have to say, their flag is downright scary to me at first glance – what times we are living in. Thanks for this info, Dan – -06880 is truly where Westport meets the world – we’re basically all in it together — I learn a lot from your blog even though I haven’t lived in Westport for a long time -it’s a lifetime connection.

  4. We are so going backwards….shameful…and sad.

  5. Stephanie Bass

    Getting a Germany-in-the-early-1930’s-feeling. We better make lots of noise now and not wait til naivete and inertia make it more difficult to stop or at least contain this sickness.

  6. Marcia Wright

    One of my nieces is bi-racial. When she writes on her FB page that Black lives matter, I respond that All lives matter…and I get “likes” for my comment. I think that this is the message that *we* need to stress. ALL. LIVES. MATTER.

  7. David Webster

    i thought this was already well covered in comments yesterday but since this is a new thread it bears repeating. As well meaning as the sentiment behind “all lives matter” may be, it’s insensitive and racially charged in its own way. The default position in our culture is that white lives matter. That is why it doesn’t need to be stated. The unspoken 2nd half of #blacklivesmatter is that they matter as much as white lives. That’s the whole point. The very need to make the statement in the face of a culture that minimizes the value of black lives is, in fact the problem the meme is meant to call out.

    So when you say all lives matter you are ignoring the actual issue at hand. #blacklivesmatter is not #blacklivesareworthmorethanwhitelives

    It’s simply asserting an obvious need for equivalence that unfortunately is not respected today.

    So while I will give folks who push for “all lives” the benefit of the doubt that they think they are asserting equality, they are in fact dismissing the entire point of the movement.

    • A. David Wunsch

      Excellent. Very well put. I liked your phrase “the default position…”
      Staples 1956

    • David, thanks for your clear explanation of why “#WHITE LIVES MATTER is racist. I’m old enough to remember in the 70s when the phrase “Black is Beautiful” came out. Everyone seemed to understand that this was just a way to encourage black/African American children in a culture where most models were Caucasian to understand that their color was beautiful. Did any of you ever see a campaign at the time to proclaim, “White is Beautiful”? No! And no one thought it meant that “blacks are MORE beautiful than whites or Hispanics or Asians”. It was just a fact that blacks are beautiful. So let’s get behind the movement that Black Lives Matter and support so many police departments that are providing good training in dealing with all citizens.

    • Tracy Flood

      Thank you. You put my thoughts into words!!!!!

  8. Eric Buchroeder (Norwalk Hospital '52)

    Regardless of where you are on the issue (and I think the Milford “droppings” makes it clear that neither it nor the one in Westport is a centrist – “Bring us all together” motivated message), the country is sitting on a powder keg. Fanatics on both ends of the spectrum are lighting a fuse. If we don’t find the center, come together and reject the extremes we COULD look like Germany in 1923-1933.

  9. Stephanie Bass

    You’re absolutely right. I find it somewhat prissy — no the exact nuanced word I need here — but prissy when folks have to add “all lives,” like when our mommies said you can’t eat candy in front of anyone unless you share. But everyone is not getting the candy. There is a tremendous about of rage on both sides of the racial divide in this country and it keeps errupting– again, on both sides — and somehow we have got to make better.

  10. I don’t think we are going backwards. I think the battle to maintain a respectful town/state/country/world is something that will always exist. In fact, it is happening on this blog. The person/people who distributed the flyer are testing the waters and we are letting them know the “temperature.” I recently read a book called Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow (great read). He drew upon the results of many scientific studies to demonstrate how most of our thinking and neural programming is outside of our awareness or unconscious. He pointed at several studies showing that the “white is better” neural program/belief is in everyone. It’s in white people. It’s in black people. The #blacklivesmatter is an idea to level the unconscious belief that whites are better. As a white man I feel no threat to it. I only wish it had started sooner.

  11. Peter Gambaccini

    I suspect the Nationalist Movement has about as many members as the Westboro Baptist Church. About eight.

    • Peter, since there are 10 people in the flyer alone, I am afraid you’re being optimistic to think that there are only eight involved. There are many racists around (as I’ve seen from stores where a black man was left to cool his heels while a shop owner would have waited on me, a white, first). So I am glad that we are looking at this issue. As Alicia Garza is quoted below, let’s “fight like hell for Black lives”. Don’t you remember the song from “South Pacific” (1949, when it was criticized for being too controversial for the musical stage) that says:

      You’ve got to be taught
      To hate and fear,
      You’ve got to be taught
      From year to year,
      It’s got to be drummed
      In your dear little ear
      You’ve got to be carefully taught.

      You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
      Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
      And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
      You’ve got to be carefully taught.

      You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
      Before you are six or seven or eight,
      To hate all the people your relatives hate,
      You’ve got to be carefully taught!

      For our grandchildren’s sake, I hope that our country will start to be taught.

  12. Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza believes that “changing Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter is a demonstration of how we don’t actually understand structural racism in this country”, that “if you really believe that all lives matter, you will fight like hell for Black lives.”

  13. dayle Brownstein

    I am shocked and saddened by the number of educated people who don’t seem to understand the message of “Black lives matter.” Finally I am seeing some sense here. Never has anyone in the course of protest in recent months said or intimated that black lives matter exclusively. For goodness sake, is it not clear that sometimes minorities are treated as if they somehow don’t matter. The knee jerk reaction to the “black lives matter” message is disappointing at best. Clearly the message is “We matter too – we have needs – we feel pain”, etc. I find it difficult to believe that this message remains unclear to many.

  14. Furthermore, I am astonished that people seem to be surprised that this act did not turn out to be a benign one. Does anybody really believe that the author of this message was simply trying to clarify the fact that “all lives matter.” I see this as denial, and it is concerning.

  15. David Webster – perfectly stated!

  16. I really don’t think this a coordinated effort by a large group lurking among us like boogeyman. Just because it included text similar to the site and a link to the site on the flier doesn’t mean the site and the person who decided to distribute his strange message are even linked. The guy who did this could simply just have read the site and decided to put a link up to it on his flier. Even in the event that there is an affiliation between the site and the person responsible for the fliers, which your post suggests, that doesn’t mean that this is some movement that poses a threat. All we have is an anonymous guy that littered who may or may not have an affiliation with a very low budget site that features photos pulled from around the internet. I still fail to see how this is a matter for law enforcement unless the person who reported it felt threatened, at which point should only be pursued legally if the person perceived an imminent threat that could lead in violence. While you have every right to judge this anonymous person here, by giving this clown two posts about his midnight antics you are a.) giving this guy exactly what he wants b.) whipping up hysterical comments about what is a very emotional issue for many about an anonymous person who wrote something crude and littered it in the middle of the night.

  17. What a strange day and age when you can’t say “all lives matter”, which means all people matter, and not risk getting accused of insensitivity or worse.
    Don’t all people matter? Aren’t we all in this together? Or, are we just a bunch of groups that speak through the filters of our labels?

    • Judy, the flyer said “White lives matter”, not “All lives matter” – and it was anonymous ( initially) – and it was placed near people’s homes in the middle of the night. Some folks are wanting to interpret that the message is “oh by the way white lives matter too” – hence they are letting themselves believe this is somehow a peace, love, brotherhood message. No way! Reread David Webster’s message above – NOBODY has said that only black lives matter. The point is that there is an “us and them” attitude in parts of American society, and as David so clearly stated the “default” belief is already that “white lives matter”. The “black lives matter” slogan is an attempt to remediate that biased belief, NOT to deny the importance of the value of anyone else’s lives! The idea is to send the message that the poverty and despair which many black Americans live in puts them in a position in which they are frequently marginalized and, hence, treated as if they don’t “matter”, NOT to say that others don’t matter as well. This message is NOT a put down towards white people. It is an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of black Americans. Given the reactions of many it is clear that there is a lot more to be made aware of. This slogan is a call for understanding, NOT a sad day in which we are pitting ourselves against one an other.

      • Judy Starr

        David, thanks for taking the time to reply. Please be assured that I had read and re-read David Webster’s message, and also others including Marcia Wright’s, to which he had responded.
        My point is not about whether or not white people feel put down by this phrase. It is about how we all are going to go about: (a) solving social problems — i.e. together or apart, and (b) how we are to view ourselves as individuals within society before, during, and afterwards. Are we members of one over-arching group, or just an agglomeration of many?
        As you note, we have become unfortunately polarized and “Balkanized” in this country. That does not augur well, not for any one group among us, nor for us all. How will we come together as a “Team America” if we keep seeing and labeling each other as first and foremost members of separate identity clusters?
        I doubt anyone saw the flyer as a “peace, love, brotherhood” message. But I, like you, am also concerned about the “us and them” attitude which seems to have grown like an active fault line in our country over the past several years.
        That is why I believe we have to say that “All Lives Matter” (or at least add it to the dialogue!). Language can help or hurt the healing that can overcome the social fractures in our country.
        A subtle point, perhaps, that “All Lives Matter”, but one that expresses, at least as I see it, the crying need for us to move towards each other, or at the very least to stop the centripetal drift apart.

      • Judy Starr

        I addressed you by the wrong name.

  18. Adam Schwartz '75

    I can’t tell you how amuzed and sickened I am following all the comments about these flyers! What is everyone afraid of? What in the world ever happened to free speech? Did these flyers talk about hurting anyone? Did they talk about planning to bomb a building or do any damage whatsoever? There are so many words going through my head right now such as “overreaction” and “misinterpretation” and “maybe Westporters don’t get out enough”. Yes, maybe this is something new to toney little Westport, the town I grew up in, but the comments are ridiculous at the very least. Someone called the Police? Why in the world would someone call the Police? Someone is talking about assembling a group including clergy and other visible Westporters? Explain that to me? Did this flyer threaten someone? Don’t these people have anything better to do with their time? Maybe the City Council should call for a curfew? No one on the streets between sunset and sunrise. There are flyers hitting the soil of Westport and this MUST stop immediately! Close the schools and don’t let our children out of their houses until someone gets to the bottom of all this! A student could possibly stumble upon one of these flyers and their life would be ruined! Based on this alone, maybe everyone should call the police each Sunday after the New York Times is delivered based on all the comments and free thinking included in the Times each weekend? What’s the difference? I say the city immediately stop all written and internet based articles from having access to Westport. No more Magazines, Newspapers, radio, television or Internet access until the city gets to the bottom of these horrible, racist flyers and squelch the people who created them! The city resources will be overrun reacting to these flyers! I say make the PD and fire department cruise the streets 24 hours a day to make sure no other flyers pollute the city. They might even find the people responsible! They could take them downtown and lock them up forever! Speaking of that, if they do find these people, what would happen to them? Fine them for littering?

    I served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force defending the rights of people just like this to do what they did and I would serve another 4 years defending their rights and anyone else wanting to speak their mind as they did, as long as what they say doesn’t talk about violence or hurting anyone.

    The humorous part of this story is, the people who created and distributed these flyers are laughing their butts off with all the turmoil they created! It’s exactly what they wanted as you guys fell right into their hands…

  19. Michele Wan

    A commenter (Patrick Henry) in a WestportNews article (http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/White-Lives-Matter-flyers-trigger-outcry-in-6251307.php) displays a picture of the “Nationalist Movement” flag and writes, “They are going to waste tax payers money to create a group against us for simply using our rights. And just as police have confirmed, no laws were violated.” I think that comes pretty close to accepting responsibility for the Westport flyers, given the already established link, pointed out by Dan, between similar flyers and this hate group. It was clear to me from the beginning that these acts were malicious, but thank you, Dan, and other commenters for bringing this to light, having this discussion, and helping to clarify misconceptions.

    • i’m guessing “Patrick Henry’ is not his real name.

    • David Webster

      Actually this genius commented on that article using an account that is cross-linked into Facebook. Here’s his personal page with his real name. And if you scroll down you can see a video where he is excited about the fact that a few of their groups are going to be going out into 5 states (including CT) and hitting them with flyers. Specifically, he calls out “Battalion 14 and Women for Aryan Unity” for their support in this. If you do a few searches for that group, you can find all kinds of fascinating info about them. Battalion 14 seems to be a successor to the White Wolves, a CT based group that had a few leaders indicted on firearm charges a few years ago. So the mystery is pretty easy to solve. These are the guys who provide instructions and materials and encourage local supporters to go around and circulate these sheets.

      • Given the number of atrocities that have occurred in human history through a cycle of hateful thoughts, to hateful words, to hateful actions, I am disappointed by the number of people who possess such a cavalier attitude about this action. I don’t think anyone is interested in denying anybody’s free speech – but why would anyone have such objections to an equally rightful privilege to respond to that speech? That makes me wonder.

      • And here is a link to “Patrick Henry”‘s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKSX5wU05CA

        • David Webster

          Here’s a video of his from a couple years ago related to another wave of fliers in our state. He lays out his whole strategy for distribution in this one. He’s got such a fascinating circular logic. And he seems a bit fixated on CT.

  20. Michele Wan

    To Dayle’s point about hateful words leading to hateful actions, this CT-based Battalion 14 group has a history of criminal activity, including bias intimidation, breach of peace, and assaults: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/White-Wolves-called-home-grown-terrorists-812091.php#page-1