February 7, 2001
5:16 PM   Subscribe

The Anti-Defamation League has categorized the circle-A anarchy sign as "General Racist Symbol" (although in the Background info, they state: "The majority of people who identify with this movement consider themselves non-racist or anti-racist"). Kinda wacky.
posted by gluechunk (14 comments total)
A coincidence?
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:28 PM on February 7, 2001

Gene Simmons is the son of a Holocaust survivor.
posted by ritualdevice at 5:50 PM on February 7, 2001

The anti-defamation league is wrong on that one.

The A in a circle is unquestionably the symbol of the Anarchists. Anarchism is not a racist doctrine.

On the other hand, if you accept the logic that any symbol can be appropriated by hateful individuals then all symbols are hate symbols.

posted by lagado at 6:52 PM on February 7, 2001

Jaysis. What's next?

Some skinheads drink Coca Cola. While most Coke drinkers are non-violent, non-racist folks, the fact that some white supremacists drink Coke classifies the beverage as a "General Racist Soft Drink."

And so on and so on... Come on, ADL, this is just stupid.
posted by champignon at 7:00 PM on February 7, 2001

In the absence of any other evidence, I'm fairly inclined to take the ADL's word about who is and isn't using particular symbols. They are experts in the area, after all. And the page is really quite limited in its claims: some white supremacists sometimes use this symbol, for its anti-government connotations, as part of their more general racist hatred of the supposed Zionist occupation. The difference between using the circle-A and drinking Coke is that skinheads rarelymake a big deal out of drinking Coke, whereas they sometimes choose to use the A as a symbol of their beliefs.

If the ADL is to be believed, they're not the ones overloading the circle-A with its "General Racist" meanings.

posted by grimmelm at 10:09 PM on February 7, 2001

The ADL of today has moved well beyond its original intentions, into the realm of pure politics. Noam Chomsky in his book Necessary Illusions (1989):

The leading official monitor of anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, interprets anti-Semitism as unwillingness to conform to its requirements with regard to support for Israeli authorities.... The logic is straightforward: Anti-Semitism is opposition to the interests of Israel (as the ADL sees them). ...
The ADL has virtually abandoned its earlier role as a civil rights organization, becoming "one of the main pillars" of Israeli propaganda in the U.S., as the Israeli press casually describes it, engaged in surveillance, blacklisting, compilation of FBI-style files circulated to adherents for the purpose of defamation, angry public responses to criticism of Israeli actions, and so on. These efforts, buttressed by insinuations of anti-Semitism or direct accusations, are intended to deflect or undermine opposition to Israeli policies, including Israel's refusal, with U.S. support, to move towards a general political settlement.
posted by aaron at 12:02 AM on February 8, 2001

This was a topic on the Cypherpunk Hyperarchive a while back. You may also notice that many groups can find hate symbols in anything, and many may appear to have done a lot of research. To make things weirder, some skinhead groups say that the Circle-A skinheads [ARA, or Anti-Racist Action] are actually funded by the Jews [which they mean as the worst of insults, o' course....]. And, after all that, no one is really sure of the origin of the circle A to begin with.

Damn, life can be complicated, huh?
posted by jessamyn at 12:37 AM on February 8, 2001

Lemme close that blockquote... Ahhh.. better.
posted by DragonBoy at 2:03 AM on February 8, 2001

another one bites the dust.

posted by fiery at 2:27 AM on February 8, 2001

The Noam Chomsky of today has also moved far beyond his original linguistic intentions, into the realm of pure politics.

(sorry, but I just can't pass up a good straight line)
posted by grimmelm at 8:53 AM on February 8, 2001

I have no idea what is or is not racist in that symbol (depicted) but to cite Chomsky is utter nonsense. The ADL, whatever is position toward Israel, is in this instance talking about what they believe (rightly or otherwise) to be racist and has no bearing on Israel or zionism, the bugaboos of a great deal of Mr. Chomsky (a former kibbutz dweller) writing. The ADL might be dead wrong on this issue. They might be right. But Israel is totally beyond the point here.
posted by Postroad at 11:22 AM on February 8, 2001

I know a lot of old punk rockers who are going to be upset about this one.
posted by jennyb at 8:19 AM on February 9, 2001

Chomsky lived on a kibbutz? When?
posted by rodii at 4:18 PM on February 9, 2001

Conversation turns 90º: I remember an old Peoples Court episode from about 12 years back, where some kids step father showed a picture of a Big boys(!!) anarchy "A" with a skateboard representing the horizontal line. The step father told the judge it was a pentagram, and symbolized devil worship. I laughed myself nearly to death. I can't remember if Wapner bought it.

BTW, I am looking for a new or lightly used BIG BOYS deck. I will pay cash, or trade a brand new JFA deck for it.
posted by thirteen at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2001

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