Last night, PBS NewsHour ran a story on the Tilly family of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Tillys do not have a history of being active in politics, but various members of the family—both old and young—are being motivated to vote or work for a campaign for the first time by Donald Trump.
If you can put aside the fact that the Tillys are rallying behind Trump, this is a small but almost heartwarming story of a family choosing to engage with democracy. That’s also if you can put aside the fact that Grace, one of the central characters in the story, has large white power tattoos on each of her hands.
Above, you see Grace phone banking for Donald Trump, with the Celtic Cross tattoo on her right hand. Despite the tattoo being in plain view of PBS’ cameras, the story never acknowledges that it is interviewing a walking white power billboard. The Anti-Defamation League explains that the Celtic Cross is one of the most “commonly used white supremacist symbols.” Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the ADL, tells me:
The Celtic Cross is an ancient and revered Christian symbol typically not associated with extremism at all. However, one particular version of the Celtic Cross—a squarish cross with a thick circle intersecting with it (also known as Odin’s Cross), has become one of the most popular white supremacist symbols around. In the past 20 years, its popularity has done little but grow, thanks to its use as the logo by Stormfront, the largest white supremacist website in the world.
In another shot, we see Grace’s left hand, which bears the number 88:
Per the ADL’s website, “88 is a white supremacist numerical code for ‘Heil Hitler.’” Finally, a connection has been made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump.
Pitcavage—who noted that the ADL “does not support or oppose any candidate for elective office”—provided me with an example of these symbols in the wild:
Here is the beginning of the PBS story, which features both shots of Grace’s tattoos: