OK Hand Gesture Declared “White Supremacist Hate Symbol” By Anti-Defamation League

U.S. President Obama gives an

U.S. President Obama gives an "okay" gesture to the translation booth during a joint statement with Portugal's Prime Minister Socrates at the NATO summit in Lisbon...U.S. President Barack Obama gives an "okay" gesture to the translation booth during a joint statement with Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates at the NATO summit in Lisbon November 19, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (PORTUGAL - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Jacob Self, Writer

The commonplace hand gesture often used by us Americans for a very long time has suddenly been declared a symbol of white supremacy by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
A self-styled “hate watchdog” that has the ear of mainstream press all over Europe and the United States, the ADL is a nonprofit organization with a mission to call out hate and prejudice 0.wherever they see it and lobby in favor of online censorship of hate. The use of the A-OK hand sign recently joined this collection of accused symbols.

Other such gestures of hate listed on the ADL website include the “Nazi Salute” and various signs or symbols of organizations such as the Klu-Klux-Klan; commonly-known signs of bigotry which now are placed alongside a previously innocuous statement of approval as symbols of intolerance and discrimination.

Alongside the out-of-style “bowl cut” style of haircut and the formerly popular internet meme “Pepe the Frog,” the “OK” hand symbol stands out from the crowd and makes the average American ask, “how did that become hateful?”

Indeed, a children’s comic, an old haircut, and a gesture with the same meaning as a thumbs-up may appear to have absolutely no reason to show up on the ADL’s “watchlist,” but after a multi-year campaign of internet trolling, these images were finally equivocated to things like the Nazi salute.
The campaign for the vilification of the “OK” hand gesture began mid 2017, when an anonymous user on 4-chan, an anonymous online forum, posted an image of the common gesticulation with the overlay “white power,” with text explaining that his “fellow anons” should do what they can to convince “mainstream” and “leftist” news outlets that the symbol was hated as to show the American public that these mainstream news outlets are incapable and out of touch.

Evidently, this user’s efforts are paying off.

When Pepe the Frog, a character from a children’s storybook series, was declared a symbol of hate by the ADL during the 2016 elections, the reaction of internet users and young people was mostly that of confusion. While there were certainly examples of white supremacists using the Frog’s likeness in their online discussions as a symbol of their dissatisfaction with society, the most common use of the image was still associated with the everyday internet user.

This changed after it was declared a hate symbol.

People had suddenly become afraid to use the image at the risk of being labeled bigoted, and the small minority of nazis online were given permanent possession of the once-common image.
This declaration has greatly damaged the prestige and reputation of the Anti Defamation League, playing straight into the hands of those who had set up the pieces for the Pepe scandal in the first place.
The Pepe declaration, however, pales in comparison to the unilateral decision of the ADL to condemn one of the most popular hand gestures in the United States as racist. This statement by the ADL has received a considerable amount of criticism from both the right and the left, with media outlets of all sorts pointing out the ridiculousness of the assertion.

This outcry against the ADL’s decision seems to reflect what the creators of these “hate hoaxes” had in mind — large, mainstream organizations discrediting themselves and showing how out of touch they are with contemporary society. It is because of these declarations that the ADL has now lost any significant cultural influence it once had and is now perceived by most Americans as an agenda-driven organization of the elite.

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