‘KKK number behind white power gesture’ spotted by Portland protester was actually poster celebrating basketball star

A sharp-eyed protester in Portland claimed she spotted a white supremacist hate symbol taunting her from a window of the BLM-besieged federal court. Further investigation, though, showed it was actually a basketball fan’s poster. 

The picture showing a hand gesturing “OK” was spotted inside the Hatfield Courthouse by one of the people protesting against racism and police brutality in downtown Portland, Oregon. It may seem innocent enough, but the gesture stands for “White Power,”according to the Anti-Defamation League.

White Power symbol 👌 in window outside the US Court House pic.twitter.com/D15xBaBtAB

— Morgan (@ironyandfood) July 11, 2020

The rows of the digit “3” are also significant, the theory goes. They stand for “33/6,” which klansmen use to refer to their organization.

So confirmed from a very far distance. 6 rows of 33 behind 👌 at the US Courthouse in downtown Portland pic.twitter.com/6ffUEtQahf

— Morgan (@ironyandfood) July 11, 2020

However, there’s also quite a different – and much more innocuous – explanation for the image, which the office of US Attorney for Oregon tweeted out after looking into complaints about a white supremacist taunting BLM protesters from inside a federal building. Someone in the courthouse apparently really likes the Oregon Trail Blazers and its three-pointer star Damian Lillard, so they put a poster of their sports hero up in the office. 

We can confirm the poster spotted in a Hatfield Courthouse window this evening is in fact a Portland Trailblazers poster. pic.twitter.com/Bnn85HSKp7

— U.S. Attorney Oregon (@USAO_OR) July 12, 2020

And no, the number of the red rows is actually not six, it’s over a dozen, though half are outlined in the background and are less clear from a distance.

Correct but whatever this item is… Has a blazers logo pic.twitter.com/0JUCeuKSGz

— LIVE: From the end of the world. (@LFTEOTW) July 12, 2020

It was not immediately clear whether the poster was an original product or some bootleg print, or who had actually put it in the window. Some protesters are unconvinced that it has anything to do with basketball, though.

UGH i also hate it when I’m just trying to express “I love basketball” from the window of a government building and then oops it accidentally get confused for a very specific white power symbol with the KKK’s signature number as the background 😩😩😩 if I had a penny……. https://t.co/GH8RU6eeTp

— Lindsey Smith (she/her) (@LindseyPSmith7) July 12, 2020

Earlier, Oregon State Police investigated an ‘OK’ gesture made by an officer during a Black Lives Matter rally, which the demonstrators took as a white power symbol shown in support of a counter-protest. The police found nothing wrong with it.

The OK gesture ‘became’ a hate symbol thanks to anonymous trolls at 4Chan, who thought it would be fun to make lefties look for racism behind it. The prank started in 2017 and has obviously succeeded in producing sufficient confusion about the meaning of the symbol.


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