'OK' hand signal added to civil rights group's database of hate symbols

'OK' hand signal added to civil rights group's database of hate symbols
© Anti-Defamation League

The "OK" hand symbol, the bowl-style haircut of Dylann Roof and the "Happy Merchant" meme are among the 36 new symbols added Thursday to the online database of hate symbols maintained by a Jewish civil rights group.

The symbols were added to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) online “Hate on Display” database, which already includes burning crosses, Ku Klux Klan robes, the swastika and many other overt symbols of racism and anti-Semitism.

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“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,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL's CEO, said in a statement.

“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.”

The "OK" sign has become popular in recent years among far-right extremists and white supremacists who use it to make the letter shapes for “w” and “p," which stand for "white power."

The ADL noted on their site that it "began as a hoax by members of the website 4chan," an online posting board frequented by many members of the alt-right.

Roof killed nine black churchgoers at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015. The silhouette of his bowl-style haircut has been used to signal admiration for Roof's actions and encourage others to commit mass shootings.

The "Happy Merchant" meme depicts a Jewish man with heavily stereotyped facial features rubbing his hands together and is used frequently in anti-Semitic circles.