Blizzard Was Right to Ban the “OK Sign”
On Friday April 5th Esports’ #1 Journalist, Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau reported on an incident that happened during a post game interview. He tweeted:
This wasn’t the first time Blizzard has stepped in and banned co-opted white supremacist memes.
As the story developed, the person who used the gesture tweeted an apology, saying they didn’t know the new context behind the gesture.
As expected many fans have responded with the same attitudes we frequently see with stories surrounding incidents like this, that of course is outrage. This outrage was completely predictable and exactly why white supremacists symbols, like the 👌, are so powerful.
Blizzard’s response to shut down use of this gesture was 100% correct and handled in the most appropriate way.
The okay sign has been a large topic for discussion over the past year or so. This sign was co-opted by Cypto-Fascists (White Nationalists who hid their explicit beliefs) as a way identify each other without openingly saying anything. Think of this like a “secret handshake”. Now what is really dangerous about this type of co-opting, is that they use common symbols to further operate in secret. This happens in a few stages:
- They use the symbol as a way to secretly identify each other
- Anti-Fascists catch on and spread the word
- The public thinks the left is trying to censor another harmless thing, disrupting discourse
- The Cypto-Fascists move onto another symbol, making their opposition seem crazy
This cycle keeps Cypto-Fascists operating without any resistance, because before opposition can begin discussing their behavior, it is already disputed by claims of needless censorship. This is EXACTLY what we saw when Blizzard came out and banned the symbol from appearing on livestream. Now though this incident didn’t directly involve any white supremacists, merely a ripple from other incidences, it still shows how strong these tactics are. With the Christchurch shooter explicitly using this symbol in his court appearance, it is completely unacceptable to not stand up and inform others.
We combat these tactics by informing others, and recognizing what they are, Blizzard was in right to tell people to stop using them. What is important now is spreading word on how Cypto-Fascists operate, as well as informing others when you see them,
For deeper context I would highly recommend viewing the two videos below, timestamped to relevant discussions on this very topics.
Sources and Further Context: