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'OK' Hand Gesture And Bowlcuts Now Considered Hate Symbols For White Supremacy

Dan 27 Sep 2019

White supremacy is an ever-evolving beast. While it might harken back to obvious symbolism from decades ago, it's also communicated through subtler, more insidious ways. Two of the most recently-identified are a hand gesture and a haircut.

White supremacy is on the rise.

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This racist movement never went away, but it's seen a major resurgence in recent years. Mobilizing is easier than ever thanks to social media. Combine this with the rise of right-wing, nationalist governments around the world and it makes for a potent storm.

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There's always been racist symbolism.

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This pic from the infamous "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virgina, shows a racist protester using a Nazi salute. He's being responded to with a different age-old hand gesture.

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New items have been added to a hate symbols database.

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In a release from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish civil rights group, a few new symbols were pinpointed as being racist in nature. Some are obvious, while others are subtle.

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This is definitely offensive.

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The "happy merchant", an anti-Semitic caricature of a Jewish man, was one of the symbols on the ADL's list. This is an example of a racist symbol that's totally overt.

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This hand symbol is not okay.

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According to USA Today, the ADL has identified this symbol, usually known as the "okay" or "a-okay" sign, as a symbol for white supremacy. This definition wouldn't have fit a decade ago, but times have changed.

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It's crept into the alt-right.

Southern Poverty Law Center

It's seen as a subtle way to identify one's allegiance in a racist group, almost as a way of hiding in plain sight. It's been co-opted in recent years by numerous hate groups.

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Sometimes it's not so subtle.

Southern Poverty Law Center

Some pics of white supremacists show them flashing the symbol on the down-low. But this pic of the Proud Boys, a hate group, makes it loud and clear what the symbol represents.

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It isn't a harebrained theory.

Southern Poverty Law Center

In this image included in a memo from the Southern Poverty Law Center, you can see the genesis of the idea to make the sign stand for white supremacy.

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Also racist: this haircut.

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Like the "okay" symbol, this is something that was once totally benign, and can still be unwittingly used in a benign way, but has come to represent something more sinister.

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This is why.

Wikipedia

Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who committed a mass shooting at a historically black church, had a bowl haircut. According to the ADL, Roof's haircut is being copied by impressionable white supremacists.

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Hate is ever-evolving.

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While it's easier to see racism in some symbols more than others, the hate is pervasive. So long as hate groups continue to use symbolism, civil rights groups will do their best to call them out on it.

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What do you think?

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While it's unfortunate that a perfectly good hand gesture and a perfectly good haircut have been co-opted by hate groups, this is the world we live in. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

h/t: USA Today

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