HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A strange and disturbing new trend has emerged involving aloha shirts at Black Lives Matter protests.
In a Washington Post article entitled “Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying guns add a volatile new element to protests,” white supremacists and far-right extremists are often seen wearing aloha shirts — while carrying assault rifles.
In-Style Magazine reported that the groups have co-opted aloha shirts instead of swastika. It serves as a “dog whistle” for their followers instead of a swastika, the article said.
"Part of the strategy of white supremacists is to disguise themselves behind new names and seemingly innocent symbols," University of Hawaii political geography professor Reece Jones told In-Style Magazine.
“No one identifies as KKK or a Nazi. Instead, they use terms like alt right, groyper, or boogaloo, that mean the same thing but do not yet have the same negative connotations. Similarly, everyone recognizes a swastika, so modern day racists co-opt other symbols like the OK sign, Pepe the Frog, and now, unfortunately, aloha shirts.”
The groups sometimes call themselves the “Boogaloo Bois,” which is code for a coming Civil War or societal collapse.
It stems from online jokes about the 1984 movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” which eventually evolved into “boogaloo,” then “big igloo” and “big luau.”
The Post points out that some of them are intentionally causing confusion by impersonating left-wing activists during these most recent protests.