The hand gesture for “OK” has recently been dubbed a hate symbol according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The gesture is one among numerous other symbols that have been included in the list of slogans and signs used by extremist groups.
The finger and thumb OK symbol is commonly recognized as an indication that things are alright, or that somebody approves of something. But the ADL now says that the sign has been adopted by white nationalists.
Where did it start?
The symbol being associated with white nationalism started as a ruse from users of the 4chan website, who inaccurately connected the gesture to white supremacy.
This was supposed to prompt a strong reaction from the media and liberal idealists. They’d then be criticized for deploring such a harmless symbol. Now though, the sign is being used by white nationalists.
“At least some white supremacists seem to have abandoned the ironic or satiric intent behind the original trolling campaign and used the symbol as a sincere expression of white supremacy,” the ADL expressed in their report.
ADL experts think the phenomenon began after Australian white supremacist, Brenton Tarrant, was seen throwing an OK sign amidst a courtroom appearance shortly following his arrest. Tarrant – accused of slaughtering 51 individuals at two mosques in New Zealand earlier this year – claimed that he was innocent.
“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,” stated ADL Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Greenblatt.
Another addition to ADL’s database of symbols is Dylan Roof’s bowlcut. White supremacists use the bowlcut emoticon to represent Roof, who killed nine black people four years ago whilst they were praying at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.