White Power Sign Flashed by Students Prompts Military Investigation
“We’re looking into it. I don’t know what their intention is,” West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt told The Wall Street Journal after service academy students were seen on national television flashing the “OK” hand sign, a distinctive hand gesture that has become widely used by white supremacists.
The “OK” signs by West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen were seen during the broadcast of the Army-Navy football game on Saturday.
President Donald Trump, who attended the game, was accused by some of using the gesture himself while speaking about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) during a speech this summer.
The Anti-Defamation League explains on their website that although the sign has been adopted by white supremacists groups, when the gesture is made, the motives need to be examined on a case-by-case basis, writing, “The overwhelming usage of the ‘OK’ hand gesture today is still its traditional purpose as a gesture signifying assent or approval. As a result, someone who uses the symbol cannot be assumed to be using the symbol in either a trolling or, especially, white supremacist context unless other contextual evidence exists to support the contention.”
Annapolis spokeswoman Commander Alana Garas added, “We are aware and will be looking into it.”
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