The Anti-defamation League has deemed the harmless ‘OK’ gesture as the newest hate symbol.
Apparently white supremacists have been using it so frequently in hate speeches and extremist movements that the ‘Alright’ symbol has turned into ‘Alt-right’. The symbol can no longer be associated with the universal meaning of ‘approval’.
But when did a harmless, happy gesture evolve into a grim symbol representative of hate?
It began on the website 4chan, as a hoax who linked the symbol to white supremacy as per the ADL (Anti-defamation League). It was only a matter of time that white supremacists started using in different marches and given its simplicity, it skyrocketed to popularity. And if you decode the benign hand gesture, you can see the initials of ‘W’ and ‘P’, which seemingly translates to ‘White Power’.
In fact, Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who massacred 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in March 2019 was seen using the ‘ok’ gesture when appearing for the trial at the court.
Pointing out to the rise in such infamous movements all around the world, Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO said in a statement that, “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”.
By condemning a non-toxic sign that has been so affluent and used to in day to day life, ADL aims to raise awareness on the rising wave of right nationalist fringe groups.
Symbols in the list of ‘Hate Symbols’ already include modified versions of the Swastika and many more.
I have a hunch that the symbol in casual demeanor would itself generate a lot of controversy from now on.
So next time you taste something nice and want to let the cook know how good it was, just don’t do this–
Just watch out.