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

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels.com

The Delta Baby Cafe in Sunflower County, Mississippi is providing breastfeeding assistance where it's needed most.

Mississippi has the third lowest rate of breastfeeding in America. Only 70% of infants are ever-breastfed in the state, compared to 84% nationally.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life. However, in Mississippi, less than 40% are still breastfeeding at six months.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

Keep Reading Show less