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15 Dec, 2019 21:00

Media clutches its pearls over ‘white power’ hand gesture at Army v Navy football game… but was it really there?

Media clutches its pearls over ‘white power’ hand gesture at Army v Navy football game… but was it really there?

The screeching masses on Twitter are melting down over the “white power symbol” flashed by a group of Army and Navy cadets. However, even the media is getting on board, unironically describing the ‘okay’ gesture as a hate symbol.

The controversy began at Saturday’s Army/Navy football game in Philadelphia, after TV cameras caught multiple Midshipmen and Cadets making the “okay” hand gesture, apparently in a bid to distract their classmates and viewers. 

Twitter liberals went into a tizzy, claiming that the gesture was an overt display of “white power” and, naturally, blaming President Donald Trump.

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Such was the furore that the military launched an investigation into the use of the symbol. 

Twitter outrage is one thing, but the media jumped on board and unironically reported the gesture as a hate symbol. 

“At least one of the gestures resembled a white supremacist symbol,” wrote NBC News. USA Today gave a blow-by-blow breakdown of who flashed each symbol and when, before solemnly stating that “The Anti-Defamation League in September added the symbol as a gesture of hate.”

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The hand symbol, the Philadelphia Inquirer declared, has “possible links to white power,” while the Wall Street Journal described it as a “possible ‘white power’ hand sign.”

So is America’s military a haven for Nazis and Klansmen? Probably not. Before professional complainers like the Anti Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center declared it a hate symbol, the gesture was used by kids the world over playing the ‘circle game’. According to the rules of the game, a player caught looking at the circle loses, and earns a punch on the arm. Break the circle with a finger-poke, and the defender wins.

Just the kind of game military students would play with each other, some argued.

Aside from schoolyard games, the gesture is still widely understood as meaning “okay,” and has been used by everyone from popes to presidents to convey this meaning.

Ironically, the drive to label the “okay” sign a “white power” symbol was concocted some time around 2017 by 4chan trolls, to see if they could get the media to take the bait. If the latest scandal is anything to go by, the trolls won.

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