Nebraska Updates Mascot Due to Hate Symbol Similarity

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Prompted by concerns over white supremacist imagery, the University of Nebraska has made a small change to depictions of Herbie Husker, the mascot of a farmer dressed in a cowboy hat and overalls that has represented the state university’s beloved Cornhuskers for nearly 50 years.

Herbie Husker’s left hand, once shaped in an “OK” sign, has been updated with the index finger raised to signify “we’re No. 1.” That change was made due to concerns that the OK sign has been hijacked by white supremacists who use the gesture to signal “WP,” for “white power.”

Nebraska officials told the Flatwater Free Press that the change was made in 2020 after they became aware of how the symbol was being used. Going forward, the university will only use the updated image of Herbie Husker on officially licensed merchandise, officials told the news outlet.

The “OK” hand gesture is officially considered a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League, though the group notes “it most commonly signals understanding, consent, approval or well-being” and that “particular caution must be used when evaluating this symbol.”

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