‘OK’ hand gesture, ‘Bowlcut’ added to hate symbols database


COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A Jewish civil rights group has added dozens of new entries to its online database of hateful symbols, slogans and memes that white supremacists have adopted and spread.

The “OK” hand gesture is one of the images that the Anti-Defamation League 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.

From ADL’s “Hate on Display” resource:

The “OK” hand symbol – Begun as a hoax by members of the website 4chan, the OK symbol became a popular trolling tactic. By 2019, the symbol was being used in some circles as a sincere expression of white supremacy. Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant flashed the symbol during his March 2019 courtroom appearance soon after his arrest for allegedly murdering 50 people in mosques in Christchurch.

The database additions also include “Happy Merchant,” an anti-Semitic meme that depicts a stereotypical image of a Jewish man rubbing his hands together.

From ADL’s “Hate on Display” resource:

Dylann Roof’s “Bowlcut” – The “Bowlcut” is an image of a bowl-shaped haircut resembling the one worn by white supremacist mass killer Dylann Roof. Those who use the bowlcut image or other “bowl” references admire Roof and call for others to emulate his 2015 mass shooting attack at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

ADL launched the database in 2000 to help law enforcement officers and others recognize signs of extremist activity. It has grown to nearly 200 entries.

Read more about the ADL’s “Hate on Display” resource HERE.

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