Shine a Light: Is it OK to Sign OK?

Shine a Light Oxford Brookes University

Conspiracy theories and conspiracies come from dark places. Hard to tell if it is best to let them remain in those dark spaces since they seem to keep seeping out into our lives in secret slips or leaks that make them seem tantalizingly real. The human mind loves being privy to gossip, loves to pass on a secret, especially a secret that hides an evil idea behind a veil of exclusivity, a sense of belonging to a private club. However, perhaps it is better to shine a light on the darkest corners of the human soul to make hiding evil impossible.

So I am going to discuss a human activity which looks like it signifies a dark reality. It may be about a private ‘club’ but not one I want to belong to. I am doing this in the interests of shining light on dark spaces. But I am also trying to decide if our President lives in this dark space and likes to signal it surreptitiously to his followers

If you watch Trump speak at a rally you will notice him making a gesture with his thumb and ring finger in a circle, other three fingers upright. We think of this as the sign for OK. That may be true for Trump also. He may just be used to incorporating that OK sign as one of his regular hand gestures. Here is an article with a video of the speech Trump made in March, 2019 at a rally in Michigan. You don’t have to watch the entire thing to see what I am talking about. Make sure to look at around the 41-42 second mark, at 2:51-1, at 3:28, at 4:02-06, at 4:35-36, 4:55-5:00, 5:36-37, 5:50-5:51 and I’m sure it comes up many more time.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/03/28/watch_live_trump_hosts_maga_rally_in_grand_rapids_michigan.html

It turns out that many sources say this OK signal, once so positive is now used by white supremacists as a sort of secret ‘gang’ sign to show the omnipresence of this group in our culture, especially among Trump supporters. Now Trump is an ‘old school’ kind of guy so his use of this sign or gesture could just be a coincidence. Or perhaps white supremacists noticed that Trump used this gesture a lot and decided to copy it. I have no idea if Trump’s use of this sign signals his America First, white power stance, which he telegraphs but likes to deny, or if it is a gesture so ingrained in his repertoire that he cannot break himself of an old habit that is no longer really culturally appropriate for the President of the United States to use.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

In 2017, the OK gesture was at the center of an online prank in meme culture related to alt-right and white supremacyoriginating from anonymous message board posts on the website 4chan.[40] The Boston Globe reported that users on 4chan’s “/pol/” (Politically Incorrect) board were instructed in February 2017 to “flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,” as part of a campaign dubbed “Operation O-KKK”.[36] The association of the gesture with white supremacy derived from the assertion that the three upheld fingers resemble a ‘W’ and the circle made with the thumb and forefinger resemble the head of a ‘P’, together standing for “white power”.[41] While some members of the alt-right used the symbol after the launch of the 4chan campaign, it remained ambiguous whether or not it was being used to communicate genuine adherence to white supremacy, or with deliberately ironicmotives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OK_gesture

More sources if you are interested:

https://medium.com/s/story/does-the-ok-sign-actually-signify-white-power-or-what-6cf3309df985

https://nypost.com/2019/03/15/suspected-new-zealand-shooter-appears-in-court/

OK-Hand-White-Power-Emojipedia

https://blog.emojipedia.org/no-the-ok-hand-is-not-a-symbol-of-white-power/

 

Is Trump trolling us, is he bonding with his peeps, or is he just an old guy using a symbol that used to have only one connotation? It’s a mystery as so many things are these days.

Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches, Oxford Brookes University, Emojipedia.jpg

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