You can’t know what you don’t know — especially dealing with painful images.

Hate symbols Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 12.09.50 PM

If you read publications and watch TV news, you know that there are people in the world (including the Denver area) who do miserable things, including painting or burning hate symbols on peoples’ property.

Some hate symbols are easy to recognize, but others? No. This is why the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently sent out information that there are now 36 more hate symbols to add to the growing database it calls “Hate on Display.” The news got pretty good coverage, as it should, because, really, you can’t know what you don’t know, even if you learn something painful.

The first symbol added to the list popped up about a year ago, when then-nominee Brett Kavanaugh was sitting through hearings before the Senate to take a seat on the Supreme Court. And there was a woman behind him who seemed to be giving the OK signal. Then, it turned into a major story: The OK symbol – a hand gesture all of us have used or have tapped on that emoji – is actually a cue for white power because the way the “lines” drawn within a hand spelled out WP.

As for the links, after explanations, there are several below.

I first saw this information in Hyperallergic, an on-line publication that deals with art and societal issues. That’s where I found an image that includes several of the new hate symbols added to the database.

Not too long after that, I listened to one of CPR’s relatively new shows, The Takeaway, with Tanzina Vega. Experts on that program explained many things and the role of context. Finally, there are links to the ADL’s blog on this, a story on the Mountain States chapter of the ADL on how hate crimes have almost doubled in Colorado, a story in The New York Times, a report on Fox Denver 31, and a link to a program on the history of symbols (including supremacy symbols) at a Denver Public Library branch later this month (for ages 13 and up). Forewarned is forearmed.

36 Symbols, Including the “OK” Hand Sign, Added to Lexicon of Hate




2 Replies to “You can’t know what you don’t know — especially dealing with painful images.”

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