Hate on Display™ Hate Symbols Database

This database provides an overview of many of the symbols most frequently used by a variety of white supremacist groups and movements, as well as some other types of hate groups. 
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23 (hand sign)

White supremacists, primarily on the West Coast, may use a two-handed hand sign consisting of one hand showing or flashing two fingers and the other hand showing or flashing three fingers. Together, they signify the number 23, a numeric symbol for W ("White").

88 (hand sign)

The number 88 is a symbolically important number for white supremacists (who use it as a numeric code for "Heil Hitler"), so occasionally a white supremacist will use a hand sign to display or flash the number 88.

Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (hand sign)

The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, a large and violent racist prison gang, uses a hand symbol consisting of a raised index finger and raised ring and little fingers, signifying the numbers 1 and 2. Substituting letters for numbers 1 and 2 stand for A and B, or Aryan Brotherhood.

Aryan Circle (hand sign)

The Aryan Circle is one of the largest white supremacist prison gangs in the United States. Its primary hand sign consists of holding up the thumb and the middle, ring, and little fingers of one hand, signifying the numbers 1 and 3 (which stand for AC). One can also hold up the little finger and the middle and index fingers, plus the thumb.

European Kindred (hand sign)

The European Kindred is a large white supremacist prison gang based primarily in Oregon. Gang members often use a two-handed hand sign in which three fingers of one hand are spread to look like an E and two fingers of another hand are spread to resemble a K.

Hammerskin (hand sign)

The handsign of the Hammerskins, a racist skinhead group, consists of two crossed forearms emulating the "crossed hammers" of the Hammerskins logo.

Hitler Salute (hand sign)

The Nazi or Hitler salute debuted in Nazi Germany in the 1930s as a way to pay homage to Adolf Hitler. It consists of raising an outstretched right arm with the palm down. In Nazi Germany, it was often accompanied by chanting or shouting "Heil Hitler" or "Sieg Heil." Since World War II, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists have continued to use the salute, making it the most common white supremacist hand sign in the world.

Ku Klux Klan (hand sign)

Some Ku Klux Klan members use a hand sign that consists of angling the index and middle fingers out to the side in order to look vaguely like the letter "K."

Peckerwood (hand sign)

The term "peckerwood" originated as a racial epithet directed at whites. Today, it has been adopted by the white supremacist prison gang subculture, especially in southern and western states, to refer to itself. The handsign for "peckerwood" consists of forming the thumb, index finger and middle finger of one hand to form the letter "P," and the four fingers of the other hand to form the letter "W."

Peckerwood Midwest

Peckerwood Midwest is a white supremacist gang based primarily in Missouri, active both in prisons and on the streets. The gang's "patch" tattoo consists of a diamond-shaped swastika inside a larger Iron Cross. Inside the swastika are SS bolts; outside the Iron Cross are the numbers 23/16.

Solid Wood Soldiers

The Solid Wood Soldiers are a Texas-based white supremacist prison gang. Their primary tattoo consists of the initials SWS, with the two S's represented by lightning bolts. Above the initials appears the image of a bear claw, with the number 4 in the middle and sometimes the letters HCRL.

SS (hand sign)

In the 2000s, white supremacists created a handsign intended to memorialize the Schutzstaffeln or SS of Nazi Germany, Hitler's secret police, political army, and concentration camp guards. The handsign utilizes both hands to make a lightning bolt symbol, as a pair of lightning bolts was the main symbol of the SS.

Supreme White Alliance (hand sign)

The Supreme White Alliance is a hardcore racist skinhead gang based primarily in the Midwest. Members sometimes use a two-handed handsign in which four fingers from one hand and three fingers from the other hand are used to represent the number 43. The gang uses 43 as a numeric symbol because the alphanumeric equivalents of the gang's initials (19 for S, 23 for W, and 1 for A), when added together, equal 43.

Volksfront (hand sign)

Members of the white supremacist group Volksfront have used several handsigns to represent their gang. A common one-handed sign features the fingers of the right hand divided into a "V" shape, often held over the chest. A two-handed sign uses one hand to make a "V" shape (using two or four fingers) and the other hand to make the shape of the letter "F."

White Power (hand sign)

Some white supremacists, particularly in California, may use a two-handed handsign in which one hand forms the letter "W" and the other hand forms the letter "P," to represent WP or "White Power."

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All the symbols depicted here must be evaluated in the context in which they appear. Few symbols represent just one idea or are used exclusively by one group. For example, the Confederate Flag is a symbol that is frequently used by white supremacists but which also has been used by people and groups that are not racist. Similarly, other symbols in this database may be significant to people who are not extreme or racist. The descriptions here point our significant multiple means but may not be able to relay every possible meaning of a particular symbol.

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