The ‘OK’ Hand Gesture And Bowl-Haircut Are Now Listed As Hate Symbols

September 30, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Story

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ok hand gesture hate symbol

(photo by caitlynnmcconnellsmit)

Now, according to Jewish civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League, the “OK” hand symbol has gone from prank to a hate symbol associated with white supremacy.

The “OK” hand gesture is one of the images that the ADL has added to its hate symbols database. Online trolls have used the gesture to dupe viewers into perceiving it as a “white power” symbol, but the ADL says far-right extremists also are using it as a sincere expression of white supremacy.

The gesture joins 35 other symbols added to the ADL’s “Hate on Display” database, announced last Thursday. Joining it are the logos for new and re-branded far-right and white supremacist groups, as well as Dylann Roof’s bowl-cut.

Some of the new entries started as trolling campaigns or hateful memes on internet message boards such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, before migrating to Facebook, Twitter, and other mainstream platforms

Mark Pitcavage, a senior fellow at ADL’s Center on Extremism, wrote in a statement that the added symbols “are the latest calling cards of hate.”

“While some hate symbols are short-lived, others take on a life of their own and become tools for online trolling,” Pitcavage added.

“What we decided was that enough white supremacists were now using it— some trolling, some sincerely—that it was justified including it in the database, albeit with all sorts of explanations,” Pitcavage said, according to the Post.

dylan roof bowl haircut

Brenton Tarrant, the Australian man charged with killing 51 people at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, flashed the “OK” symbol during a courtroom appearance after his arrest. The ADL also added the “Dylann Roof Bowlcut,” an image of the hairstyle worn by the white supremacist who shot and killed nine black people in 2015 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Another addition, the “Moon Man” meme, is derived from “Mac Tonight,” a character in a McDonald’s advertising campaign during the 1980s. Internet trolls transformed the sunglasses-wearing cartoon moon into a vehicle for rap songs with racist and violent lyrics.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement to NPR the database helps provide the necessary context for symbols that may seem unremarkable to most people, but in fact have new, hateful associations.

“We believe law enforcement and the public needs to be fully informed about the meaning of these images, which can serve as a first warning sign to the presence of haters in a community or school,” said Greenblatt.

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