One of the most common hand gestures in western culture as well as a retro hairstyle are both indicators of white supremacy, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL, a Jewish civil rights organization which alleges to identify extremist hate movements across the United States, added the bowlcut and the “OK” gesture to its database of hate symbols in late September 2019. The group says the update was made to aid law enforcement officers as well as school authorities identify extremist behavior. The list has been ongoing since 2000.
“Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
The existing database included many familiar hate symbols, including the burning cross associated with the Ku Klux Klan as well as the swastika associated with Nazi Germany. Many of the other symbols on the list are far less obvious.
Hate symbols are becoming more prevalent. They're used by anti-Semitic & white supremacist groups to communicate. ADL keeps a Hate Symbols Database to put these symbols out in the open & work to prevent their growth, both online & offline. Learn more here: https://t.co/WdKl9lP87R
— ADL (@ADL) September 27, 2019
Before the OK symbol’s addition, the ADL flagged Pepe the Frog, a cartoon frog popularized by users on “edgy” social media platforms such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit. The character was often photoshopped to appear alongside Nazi imagery, and made its way into the Twitter and Facebook sphere as well. It usually appears in self-described “shitposting” groups, where users are encouraged to post intentionally offensive content — usually ironically.
Many online commentators have suggested that this move by the ADL is ridiculous, and just further evidence that the group has moved away from civil rights for Jewish people and closer toward progressive political activism. Also among the list of “hate symbols” is the “Antifa” flag with a cross through it. Apparently, being against a leftist paramilitary protest group is the same thing as being a white nationalist.
Here’s Eric July with more reaction.