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30 Jan, 2022 16:27

Decades-old mascot altered over ‘white power’ concerns

Cartoon farmer Herbie Husker in a red cowboy hat has retired a “hand gesture” deemed racist
Decades-old mascot altered over ‘white power’ concerns

Nebraska Cornhuskers’ mascot Herbie Husker has been “revised” after an “apparel provider and others” raised concerns about the cartoon character using an ‘OK’ hand gesture, which has been associated with white supremacy in recent years.        

“That hand gesture could, in some circles, represent something that does not represent what Nebraska athletics is about,” Lonna Henrichs, Nebraska’s athletic department’s licensing and branding director, said to Flatwater Free Press. 

Herbie Husker, who first came into existence in 1974, has used the gesture for years, but he’ll now make the no. 1 sign, a gesture which itself has been connected to ISIS terrorists in the past.

Heinrichs explained that concerns over Husker’s hand gesture was brought up in July 2020, only weeks after the murder of George Floyd, his death kicking off Black Lives Matter protests across the country. 

“We just didn’t even want to be associated with portraying anything that somebody might think, you know, that it means white power,” the branding director said. 

Some activists have connected the ‘OK’ hand gesture to white supremacy, arguing the symbol is coded communication between racists. 

The Anti-Defamation League has listed the ‘OK’ gesture as a hate symbol, explaining that it took on a “new and different significance” in 2017 when trolls belonging to groups like 4chan used “various innocuous symbols” as part of campaigns with the hope that “the media and liberals would overreact by condemning a common image as white supremacist.” 

The group adds, however, that “particular caution must be used when evaluating this symbol,” as most uses are “entirely innocuous and harmless.”