Boogaloo Extremists, Banned From Facebook, and the Hawaiian Shirt

Boogaloo teams may additionally have seized on the Hawaiian shirt for causes apart from signaling their affiliation and intentions. Mr. Nakagawa mentioned that doing so could also be an try to bait the much less knowledgeable into assuming the group means no actual hurt. That they’re, actually, in impact, a goofy bunch of boys regardless of their military-grade weaponry.

This interpretation is shared by Patrick Blanchfield, an affiliate school member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, who repeatedly writes about the far proper. He views the use of the Hawaiian shirt as yet one more try by far-right teams to create an “undefinable space” with “in-your-face absurdity.”

“It’s by design,” Mr. Blanchfield mentioned. “That confusion is what they’re trying to exploit, which means it’s important to keep an eye on the big picture, or what’s right in front of you. If you see an image of a man wearing tactical gear with a gun and a Hawaiian shirt, the most salient thing there is that the guy has a gun and tactical gear.”

ULTIMATELY, A SYMBOL like the Hawaiian shirt shifts focus from the apparent — armed males asserting dominance in public areas — to expert-led discussions of the boogaloo’s motion’s coded symbols and language video games, that are absurd to the level of meaninglessness, Mr. Blanchfield thinks. He, and different specialists on white nationalist extremism in the United States, have burdened that such in-jokes are a longstanding apply of extremist actions born out of on-line message boards like 4chan and Reddit and, extra not too long ago, in the case of the boogaloo, Facebook.

Joshua Citarella, a researcher of extremist behaviors on the web, has adopted the boogaloo motion, generally known as “Hawaiian shirt nationalism” by these in far-right corners of the web, from its earliest manifestation as a meme on social media. Its earliest expressions, Mr. Citarella mentioned, have been principally about civil libertarianism and drew on web aesthetics like Vaporwave.

The “boogaloo kit” put up on social media is one other latest instance of the meme bridging the hole with actual life. In late 2018, Mr. Citarella started to note that customers had begun sharing photographs of their very own “skins,” or outfits, laid out on the floor. They have been normally a mix of tactical gear, assault weapons, bottles of liquor and avenue put on like Supreme hoodies, all tied collectively ultimately by the floral print of the Hawaiian shirt.

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