U.S. Coast Guard Member Pulled From Hurricane Response For 'Racist' Hand Gesture

A U.S. Coast Guard team member is under investigation for displaying a hand gesture some say is racist.

Charleston, NC – The United States Coast Guard has removed a member of the Charleston emergency response team after a news broadcast showed him making an “okay” hand gesture.

Outrage followed from people who have fallen for a hoax that the gesture a symbol for “white power” (video below).

The 12-second clip was part of MSNBC’s live coverage on Friday, during which Sector Charleston Commanding Officer Captain John Reed provided an update regarding the Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Florence, FOX News reported.

In the background, and unnamed team member was seen making an “okay” hand gesture, the video showed.

The hand sign is also affiliated with a viral trend known as the “circle game,” where the goal is to make somebody look at your hand ask you flash the okay sign below waist level.

Many social media users demanded that the team member be fired and accused him of making a “white power” hand sign, FOX News reported.

The myth that the OK sign actually meant "white power" was started by internet trolls on 4chan, an anonymous message board, in February of 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

“We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,” the anonymous poster wrote, according to ADL, a civil rights organization. “Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy. We must force [them] to dig more, until the rest of society ain’t going anywhere near that s--t.”

Users encouraged people to perpetuate the hoax using hashtags such as # PowerHandPrivilege and # NotOkay, created fake social media and email accounts, and bombarded journalists and civil rights organizations with the misinformation.

“No one should assume anything about the use of such a gesture unless there are other unmistakable white supremacist signifiers in that context as well,” Anti-Defamation League senior research fellow Mark Pitcavage said in a Tweet, according to The Post and Courier.

But the U. S. Coast Guard was swift to denounce the team member's actions.

“We are aware of the offensive video on Twitter,” the agency tweeted on Friday night. “The Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response.”

“His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard,” the agency added.

On Sunday, Coast Guard Lieutenant J.B. Zorn said the investigation into the incident is ongoing, The Post and Courier reported.

“The Coast Guard is aware that this gesture is offensive in some circles,” Lt. Zorn said. “Whether it was displayed knowingly or unknowingly, that is of concern.”

“This doesn’t reflect any of the great work the Coast Guard is doing,” he added.

You can watch the brief news clip in the video below:

Comments
No. 1-25
tj82888
tj82888

This should explain everything...

MarkCarter
MarkCarter

So - just so all divers on the planet know not to do this - HELLO COAST GUARD - when all is OK under the waves - we should all use our thumbs and point our THUMBS upwards for OK? Right? and not use the OK sign!?!? May I please get a copy of the new and revised dive manual? Or did you people - COAST GUARD - not have a chance to print one out yet? Just want to make sure someone of rank THOUGHT ABOUT THIS before REACTING!

mitchsmith
mitchsmith

So when did the feelings & opinions of the perpetually offended outweigh the feelings & opinions of those who aren't offended? Whoever made the decision in the Coast Guard to relieve the individual of duty should be removed from any type of command. Their leadership skills are obviously lacking.

Katarina
Katarina

@jinx73 I'm close to you in age and too old to learn a new dictionary or hand signals. It means OK to me, always will. Can't control the feelings of others. If they choose to get offended, I hope they enjoy it because I can't help them.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

.....same with calling a boy...."a boy" especially if he is below 16 yrs old............Thinking back I remember that I was called "Master" prior to my first name at about 10 or 12 ( an old English term-- IE-"Master first name")........It didn't mean I was a Plantation owner or slave owner. Yet some will misconstrue anything to create a false narrative or feed a personal agenda. Always think of the "whys " behind the accusation.

Oh and BTW-- Its perfectly OK to say or gesture "OK". Please read my other post below to explain more of the "whys" behind the accusations.

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