Stickers emblazoned with “White Lives Matter” have been popping up around Georgia State’s campus for the past month, and the people behind them are currently unknown.
For Georgia State students who remember the White Student Union controversy back in 2013, Patrick Sharp is an easy scapegoat. Sharp, however, refuted this claim, but does say that many people have approached him about the stickers, many of whom could have been the creator.
“Many, if not most white students are tired of racial double standards but don’t want to have lunatics coming after them, as I have. So I don’t know who did it exactly. It could have been any number of people,” he said.
Still, Sharp defended the stickers and said the message behind them is that white people shouldn’t be attacked based on being white. He said white people are not “uniquely evil.”
When asked how these stickers should be dealt with, Sharp said they should be left alone.
“Georgia State should do nothing. It’s not the school’s business to tell people what they can say and think. If people want the school to tell them what they should say and think, they are probably a little too delicate to be attending college to begin with,” he said.
Shakira Thomas, Georgia State freshman and biology major, also said the stickers should not be considered offensive, because they are not a threat. She said they have the same message as “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter.”
“I think it’s supposed to mean that white people want to direct attention to injustices and inequalities that they face, just like police brutality within the black lives matter movement,” she said.
Tori Franklin, Georgia State sophomore and nutrition major, never noticed the actual stickers, just the flyers for anti-racist demonstrations. She said she felt the message behind the stickers could have been a genuine call for attention to white issues, but they probably came out of ignorance.
“I feel like it’s maybe not coming from a place of ‘we’re more important; you’re more important.’ I feel like it’s coming from a place of ignorance like they don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority. They try to say ‘well I have problems too’, but it’s not the same thing.”
An anti-racism rally was held by the Progressive Student Alliance, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and The International Socialist Organization on Tuesday, Nov. 10th, in response to the stickers. The rally attracted an array of people, some of whom shared speeches or stories about their experiences.
Julia White, a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, said she feels the stickers support a white supremacist agenda.
“It just means that black lives are useless, they don’t mean anything, so that’s why we’re out here, like, reminding everybody that black lives do matter and that we’re not going to tolerate white supremacy on this campus,” she said.
The main speaker at the anti-racist rally and Chairperson for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Seyoum Bey said the coalition of the three organizations found over 70 stickers. These stickers are “white lives matter stickers” as well as stickers depicting the celtic cross and “good night left side.”
Bey believes that these stickers will lead to larger demonstrations of similar sentiments if they are not dealt with.
“Any form of white supremacy, any form of any type of organizing will eventually grow if it’s not nipped in the bud at the beginning,” he said.
Bey also discussed a meeting held by the Black Student Alliance that was “infiltrated” by white supremacists who claimed that black people have not made any relevant contributions to history.
Bey met with the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Darryl Holloman, in hopes of having Georgia State’s support in removing the stickers, but it didn’t go as he’d hoped.
“After speaking with him, his position was that this is a public campus, and at a public campus, at a public university, we cannot infringe on people’s’ ideologies, despite it promoting white supremacy. He said it wouldn’t be fair if Patrick Sharp came up to him and said ‘The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is saying things I don’t like so can you do something about it?’” Bey said.
“So by not acknowledging this issue, we feel like the university is engaging in hypocrisy and they’re perpetuating the same notions that white dominated societies perpetuates about black people just in general.”
The Black Lives Matter movement was created by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in 2013 as a response to violence against black people, according to USA Today. However, some people have felt excluded and/or threatened by this message.
A Facebook page by the name of White Lives Matter uses its platform to bring attention to issues affecting white people, such as black-on-white crime. They argue that white people are the most discriminated against because of their skin color, and their hardships are ignored in favor of people of color, particularly black people.
According to BBC, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called the Black Lives Matter movement a “hate group” and believes the movement supports the killing of police officers.
Many people have spoken out in attempts to share their interpretation of the Black Lives Matter movement, including President Obama, who was quoted on PBS.
“I think everybody understands all lives matter,” Obama said. “I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities.”
For now, white lives matter stickers will continue to be posted around campus, and anti-racist demonstrations will continue to be held in response to them.