Who would have thought that the embarrassing, albeit harmless, bowlcut hairstyle would become a symbol of hate?
That's right. The hairstyle that nearly every child had has recently been added to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) long-standing "Hate on Display" database, which documents hate symbols that white supremacists and other far-right extremists use.
The ADL announced the official change in the meaning of the bowlcut hairstyle in late September. It founded the database in 2000 to help authorities and other bodes recognize signs of extremist activity.
According to the league, the hairstyle has become synonymous with white supremacy following the case of Dylann Roof, the suspect of the Charleston church mass shooting. Roof opened fire at the church during a Bible study in 2015, leading to the death of nine black church members.
|Photo Credit: UNILAD|
Pictures of the then 21-year-old murderer showed him sporting a distinctive bowlcut hairstyle. The ADL said the hairstyle has now become a kind of representation for extremists.
"As more extremists use it, it’s important for law enforcement, it’s important for the public to know that it’s now been adapted," Robert Trestan, the Executive Director of the ADL’s Boston office, told ABC7 News as per UNILAD.
On their website, the league said so-called "Roof venerators" use the murderer's bowl-shaped haircut to identify themselves and like-minded fans. It added that this includes using the word "bowl" as part of their screen names (e.g. Bowltrash or The Final Bowlution) or collectively using terms with the word in it (e.g. Bowl Gang or Bowlwaffen Division).
"They may also use slang terms such as ‘Take the bowl pill’ or ‘disrespect the bowl, pay the toll.’ Some use phrases such as ‘take me to church’ or ‘take them to church’ as coded references for violence," the ADL added.
|Photo Credit: Getty Images via The Evening Standard|
Trestan said the "Hate on Display" database, which consists of over 200 symbols, continues to grow as "‘hate is always adapting to the current environment."
Aside from the bowlcut hairstyle, the ADL added 36 new symbols such as the "OK" hand symbol and an anti-Semitic meme called Happy Merchant.