The gesture made to signal “OK” is now considered a racist hand gesture, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish nongovernmental organization.
CNN reported that the ADL added the symbol, along with 35 others, to its ongoing Hate on Display Hate Symbols Database. The database already includes burning crosses, Ku Klux Klan robes, the swastika and many other of the most notorious and overt symbols of racism and anti-Semitism.
According to the ADL, the gesture, in which the index finger and thumb connect to form a circle and the pinky, ring and middle finger stick straight out, was labeled a white power symbol as a hoax.
Dictionary.com is also claiming the symbol is racist and offensive because it is often used by conservatives and Libertarians.
“The ‘okay’ gesture hoax was merely the latest in a series of similar 4chan hoaxes using various innocuous symbols; in each case, the hoaxers hoped that the media and liberals would overreact by condemning a common image as white supremacist,” according to the organization.
“In the case of the ‘okay’ gesture, the hoax was so successful the symbol became a popular trolling tactic on the part of right-leaning individuals, who would often post photos to social media of themselves posing while making the ‘okay’ gesture.”
The ADL claim some white supremacists took part in what was initially an ironic gesture, which has since been used by some as a “sincere expression of white supremacy,” according to the organization.
ADL cited Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist who allegedly went on a shooting spree at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and killed 50 people, as a real-life example of someone using the hate symbol.