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DFLers accuse Republican of flashing white supremacist sign during debate

Chamberlain flashed the "OK" symbol to express the concept of zero on the Senate floor on Thursday.
roger chamberlain

DFLers in Minnesota are claiming a Republican used a hand gesture linked to white supremacy during an education debate on Thursday.

During a Senate floor debate on a school funding bill, Sen. Roger Chamberlain held up his hand, forming a circle with his pointer finger and thumb with his other fingers outstretched. 

The Republican from Lino Lakes was expressing the concept of zero, saying "I'm going to use this prop" (holding up his hand), "See that, that's a zero. That's a zero."

This symbol, commonly used to denote "OK," has in recent years come to be known as a white supremacist hand gesture when used in certain contexts, and people on social media as well as Democrats in the Minnesota Senate, quickly made the link with Chamberlain's gesture.

Former state Rep. Erin Maye Quade noted Chamberlain, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, has "retweeted Nazis and promoted white nationalist content."

The Minnesota Reformer last August reported on how Chamberlain has taken a "keen interest" in the book Bronze Age Mindset, which was written anonymously and peddles neo-fascism, racism and misogyny.

The Reformer notes that while Chamberlain's public politics are more in line with the mainstream GOP, he follows neo-Nazis on Twitter and has liked several posts by the book's author. 

It should be noted that although the symbol Chamberlain made is a known white power symbol, the Anti-Defamation League says "particular caution should be used when evaluating [the OK] symbol," noting it most commonly signals understanding, consent, or approval and its use in most contexts is entirely harmless. 

That being said, Chamberlain used the symbol to show zero, not "OK."

Bring Me The News has reached out to Sen. Chamberlain for comment. 

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