The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has made a change to its mascot Herbie Husker to eliminate any and all confusion about the meaning of a hand gesture he makes that some people connect with white supremacy.
Herbie’s left hand made the “OK” sign with the index finger and thumb forming a closed circle. In past years, this would’ve been perfectly fine as normal people knew exactly what it meant. However, in recent years, some hate groups have come to use the gesture as a sign for white power.
Herbie’s left hand now makes the well-known “We’re No. 1” sign with his index finger raised.
“The concern about the hand gesture was brought to our attention by our apparel provider and others, and we decided to move forward with a revised Herbie Husker logo,” Nebraska Athletics said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The process of changing the logo began in 2020, and we updated our brand guidelines in July of 2021. The revised logo is now the only Herbie Husker mark available to licensees.”
The Anti-Defamation League lists the OK hand gesture in its Hate Symbols Database.
The ADL description: “A common hand gesture that a 4chan trolling campaign claimed in 2017 had been appropriated as a symbol meaning ‘white power.’ Used by many on the right — not just extremists — for the purpose of trolling liberals, the symbol eventually came to be used by actual white supremacists as well. Caution must be used in evaluating instances of this symbol’s use.”
Nebraska began changing the logo in 2020 and updated its brand guidelines last July in response to the negative trend.
“That hand gesture could, in some circles, represent something that does not represent what Nebraska Athletics is about,” Nebraska Athletics licensing and branding director Lonna Henrichs told the Flatwater Free Press. “We just didn’t even want to be associated with portraying anything that somebody might think, you know, that it means white power.”
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