Universal Orlando employee fired for flashing a hate symbol in a photo with a biracial child
via York Run / Twitter

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) added the "OK" hand gesture to its list of slogans and symbols used by extremists last month.

Why would the ADL take a universal sign for everything being copacetic and call it a hate symbol? Is nothing sacred? After all it's used by people of all races, colors and creeds.

Well, unfortunately, it's been co-opted by white supremacists to secretly signal their hate.


Annie Reneau from Upworthy gave a brief history of how the OK symbol went from being an in-joke on the 4Chan web forums to a legitimate gesture of the alt-right.

The OK sign as a symbol of white supremacy started out as a joke. Apparently, some basement-dwelling 4Chan dudes with a severe lack of purpose in life decided to "troll the liberals" by making people think that the OK sign—something super commonplace and innocuous—was a symbol of white supremacy. (Seriously, people. Get a life, please.)
Then, because white supremacists are stupid, they actually started flashing it during their pity party rallies and it actually did become a symbol. The symbolism was solidified when a photo of the mosque shooter in New Zealand flashing the sign became public. One can no longer argue that a sign is a joke when someone flashes it after having committed a white supremacist massacre.
Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Yes. Will people blame the "PC police" for this? Yes. But let's put the blame where it belongs—on 4chan fools and white supremacist idiots for creating this ridiculous controversy in the first place.

Here are the Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist organization, flashing the symbol.

Some more Proud Boys throwing up the OK.

via Thicc Beat / Twitter

Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant flashing the symbol.

Alt-right raconteur Milo Yannopolis throwing up a big "white power" in his Trump hat.

via Thicc Beat / Twitter

RELATED: Yes, the OK sign can be used as a hate symbol. No, we don't need to stop using it altogether.

Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative non profit student organization, that's been called "alt-lite" by The ADL.

via Thicc Beat

According to the ADL, the OK symbol also makes a W and P, which to some, stands for "white power."

via ADL

A Universal Studios Orlando actor dressed as Gru from "Despicable Me" lost his job recently after it was discovered he flashed the symbol on the shoulder of a biracial six-year-old girl earlier this year.

via Yahoo News / Twitter

Tiffiney Zinger, 35, an African-American U.S. Army veteran and her husband, Richard, who is white, took their daughter and three-year-old son to have breakfast with the "Despicable Me" characters when the video was taken.

Months later, as the couple were looking through photos from their trip, she noticed the symbol.

RELATED: New Emmett Till memorial sign to be bulletproof because people won't stop being racist a-holes

"Oh my gosh. Oh no. What is this? Am I seeing what I really think I'm seeing," Zinger said she thought when she first realized what happened.

Zinger then reached out to Universal Studios and received a generic response.

"It seemed like protocol," Zinger said according to NBC News. "It didn't feel genuine."

She reached out again in September and Universal Orlando didn't seem interested in taking any action, so she sent the video of the character making the hate symbol.

"When I found this video and sent it to them, everything went into motion," Zinger said.

Theme park officials took action and fired the employee.

"We never want our guests to experience what this family did. This is not acceptable and we are sorry — and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again," Universal Orlando spokesperson Thomas Schroder said.

"We can't discuss specifics about this incident, but we can confirm that the actor no longer works here," Sschroder continued. "We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right."

Zinger said the situation was especially painful because they are both veterans who had multiple deployments to Iraq.

"All of that hard work soldiers do for Americans...it feels awful that someone would use their freedom for hate," Zinger said.

There has been some push-back in conservative circles over the idea the OK sign can be a hate symbol. Possibly because those who are accused of flashing it as a sign of hate are Trump supporters.

But those of us who know our history understand that symbols can evolve over time. The swastika was also a sign of of well-being in ancient societies, including those in India, China, Africa, native America, and Europe, until it was co-opted by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis in 1920.

Swastika from Roman mosaic II cent. A. D. Sousse Tunisiavia Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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