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How neo-Nazis and White Supremacists co-opted the ‘OK’ hand symbol to mean White Power

You may be asking yourself. Why is the neo-nazi Terrorist responsible for the recent attack in New Zealand making the ‘OK’ symbol during his court appearance? The answer. Is that that is not the OK hand symbol. And hasn’t been since 2016 at least.

I will now detail for you in chronological order the rise and prevalence of this not-innocent-at-all 4chan ‘prank’ to the mass murder of 50 people yesterday, But first, To truly understand what is happening here, You need to understand what happened with ‘Pepe the Frog’

“”Pepe the Frog” first appeared in 2005 in the comic “Boy’s Life” by artist and illustrator Matt Furie. The comics depict Pepe and his anthropomorphized animal friends behaving like stereotypical post-college bros: playing video games, eating pizza, smoking pot and being harmlessly gross.

In 2008, fans of the comic began uploading Furie’s work online. In one comic, Pepe responds to a question about his bathroom habits with, “Feels good, man.”

That reaction image and catchphrase took on a life of its own on the Internet, meriting a Know Your Meme entry by 2009. Alternate iterations of Pepe, including sad, smug and angry Pepes, followed. Pepe memes are ubiquitous across 4chan, Reddit, Imgur, Tumblr, and other social media and image-sharing sites.

It all seemed in good fun, but in late September, Pepe’s green visage was designated a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL’s online hate symbol database is designed to help law enforcement, educators, and members of the general public identify potentially hateful images, explained Oren Segal, the director of the organization’s Center on Extremism. He said that in recent years, hate symbols have proliferated online. Now, with things like Pepe the frog, anti-Semitic images are originating and circulating almost primarily on social media.

In some instances, Pepe wears a Hitler mustache, and his signature message is replaced with “Kill Jews Man.” In others, Pepe poses in front of a burning World Trade Center, dressed like an Orthodox Jewish person with a yarmulke and payot. He’s also been spotted wearing a Nazi soldier’s uniform and in a KKK hood and robe.
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It originated on /rk9/, the 4chan message board associated with some of the least savory elements of the Internet. Last fall, people on that board purposefully framed two innocent individuals for the Umpqua Community College shooting. It’s allegedly where Isla Vista shooter Elliot Rodger announced his shooting before it took place — in a post with a Pepe meme.

Nazi Pepe made its way to Twitter, where people who regularly tweeted messages supporting white nationalism and anti-immigrant views quickly absorbed it into their Internet repertoire. People who identify with those movements add the frog emoji to their Twitter name.

In August, Hillary Clinton gave her now-infamous speech denouncing some of Donald Trump’s supporters, particularly the segment known as the alt-right, as a “basket of deplorables.”

A couple weeks later, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. posted a photo on Instagram that depicted him and other supporters as “The Deplorables” — a play on the poster from the movie “The Expendables.” In the lineup? Pepe.

Two weeks after that, the ADL made its official designation.”

Source Los Angeles Times

President Trump’s Family approves, They consider themselves ‘honored’ to be adored by White Nationalists and Neo-Nazis in fact. Their words.

Even the President himself welcomes the support.

Now that you have an idea of what happened with the otherwise innocent ‘Pepe the Frog’, I’ll now provide a timeline of instances of people clearly saying ‘White Power’ with this symbol, Leading to the neo-Nazi you see at the top, proudly flashing this sign after killing 50 people in the name of White Supremacy. It all started with one of America’s more well known neo-Nazi’s, Richard Spencer in 2016 in front of Trump Tower.

In case you’re one of those “I’m not political” types. This is who Richard Spencer is:

“Richard Bertrand Spencer (born May 11, 1978) is an American white supremacist. He is president of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank, as well as Washington Summit Publishers. Spencer rejects the label of white supremacist and considers himself a white nationalist, white identitarian, and the equivalent of a “Zionist” for white people. Spencer created the term “alt-right”, which he considers a movement about “white identity”. Spencer advocates white-European unity and a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” of nonwhites from America, and the creation of a new political order he believes would resemble the Roman Empire.

Spencer has been described as a neo-Nazi and has publicly engaged in Nazi rhetoric on many occasions. In early 2016, Spencer was filmed giving the Nazi salute to Milo Yiannopoulos in a karaoke bar. In the weeks following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, at a National Policy Institute conference, Spencer quoted from Nazi propaganda and denounced Jews. In response to his cry “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”, a number of his supporters gave the Nazi salute and chanted in a similar fashion to the Sieg Heil chant used at the Nazis’ Nuremberg rallies.”

Source: Wikipedia

Spencer wasn’t the first to flash this symbol in this fashion, Milo Yiannopoulos was spotted in front of the White House in March 2016 doing the same, Posobiec & Biggs were spotted in Oct 2016, But it was Spencers prominence as a neo-Nazi that made (some of) us realize what was going on.

Here’s Jack Posobiec & Joe Biggs inside Trump Tower in October 2016

By 2017 the rest of the Nazis had gotten the memo. The rest of society didn’t.

Here’s Tim Gionet & Joey Gibson at a Nazi rally in Portland.

And here’s Matthew Heimbach and a bunch of other neo-nazis sometime in 2017

Neo-Nazi at ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Aug 2017

3 Prominent Neo-Nazis, Date unknown, Probably 2017

The most common rebuttal to people flashing this symbol is either: “It’s just OK” or “It’s just a prank”, This is the ‘prank’ they are talking about.

You might notice the ‘4chan hoax’ didn’t start until Feb 2017. That the symbol was even being used by neo-Nazis before 4chan started their ‘hoax’. It was already being used to signal ‘White Power’ by the most neo-Nazi folks around a full year prior.

And here’s Roger Stone with The Proud Boys in March 2017, Whom the FBI now considers a white supremacist terrorist organization.

Here’s some more white supremacist terrorists in April 2017

There’s been many instances between then and now as both the symbol and white supremacy have exploded in popularity over the past few years. I’ll leave you with two more recent ones from 2018.

In July 2018, Four officers from the Jasper Police Department were suspended after making and upside-down “OK” sign with their hands in a post-arrest photo taken by a Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle photographer, city officials told AL[dot]com.

Some people have claimed the gesture is actually a hate symbol that means “white power.”

Source: AL.com

The US Coast Guard removed one of its members from its Hurricane Florence response team after he made an “offensive” gesture Friday on live television.

The gesture in question: a once innocuous symbol for “OK” that has been interpreted as a symbol for “white power” and is now used by neo-Nazis, pro-Trump and alt-right figures

Source: Buzzfeed

If it is an inside joke, only known to Nazis, to “prank” people by saying “White Power” with the OK sign, And you do it. Guess what. Participating in an inside joke only known to Nazis … makes you a Nazi.

It is worth noting that the organizations caught participating in this are a Police Force and a Coast Guard … two of the very institutions targeted for infiltration by White Supremacists. Not to mention The Proud Boys, Which are also listed as a White Supremacist Terrorist group by the FBI.

Suffice to say. The verdict is out. This symbol is not just an innocent ‘OK’ symbol anymore. It was never a prank. It’s not a joke. We need to condemn white supremacy, in all it forms and expressions. At every opportunity to do so.

Sign this petition to add white supremacist terrorist groups … to the official Terrorist Entities List (Canada)

If i can find other appropriate measures to advocate for your country I will add them. But all of us can always speak out against racism.

Nigel Todman is an Independent Journalist, Technical Consultant, Social Activist, Web Developer and Computer Programmer from Ontario, Canada. Add him to Facebook and/or Follow him on Twitter E-mail: veritas [at] vts-tech [dot] org

 

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