In the online library of white-supremacist symbology, one may find the following: No fewer than 18 kinds of crosses, illustrated in various colors. The numbers 12, 13, 14, 18, 28, 38, 43, and more, all of which denote specific skinhead messages. Menacing tattoos on irritated-looking white skin, and weird contortions of white fingers. Flags, slogans, hand gestures, T-shirt art, and logos; sketched illustrations and actual photographs of burning crosses.
It's right there on the Anti-Defamation League's website: Its "visual database of extremist symbols, logos, and tattoos" relaunched yesterday, adding about six dozen new symbols and a host of technological improvements to the online archive of supremacist illustrations. They call it exactly what it is: "Hate on Display."
Mark Pitcavage, ADL's director of investigative research, said the database has existed in a scaled-down form for around 15 years. When it was originally launched—"with 1999 technology," he noted—it quickly became the most popular part of the organization's website. It's been used by police officers, teachers, religious leaders, military recruiters, and more; it's intended as a resource to help people recognize hate-related graffiti that shows up on the side of a school, skinhead tattoos on potential employees, or even signs of a potential hate crime. "There are hundreds of different uses," Pitcavage said. "We want the general public, if they encounter these symbols, to recognize them."