In today’s age of heightened tensions, people need to be careful not to come across as hateful, even accidentally. Swastikas and confederate flags are generally considered to be symbols of racism and hate. Hate symbols, however, can come in many forms. The Anti-Defamation League is an organization that has the job of fighting for civil rights. It does this by deciding what does and what doesn’t count as a “hate symbol.” It has recently decided on a new hate symbol that should be combated. Interestingly enough, this symbol of hate comes in the form of a cartoon frog.
TIME reports: Pepe the Frog’s beginnings were unoffensive: he is the creation of comic book creator Matt Furie, who featured the frog as a character in the series Boy’s Club beginning in 2005. The character subsequently became a beloved meme, often called the “sad frog meme” and shared with a speech bubble reading “Feels good man” or “Feels bad man.” It was at times posted on social media by the likes of Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj. But recently, as the Daily Beast reported in May, the character has been co-opted by a faction of Internet denizens who decided to reclaim it from the mainstream, and began sharing it in anti-Semitic contexts.
“Images of the frog, variously portrayed with a Hitler-like moustache, wearing a yarmulke or a Klan hood, have proliferated in recent weeks in hateful messages aimed at Jewish and other users on Twitter,” the ADL wrote in a statement. “Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular Internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users,” wrote ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.
If you don’t understand what Pepe is, or what memes are in general, don’t worry. I don’t get it either. I don’t think anyone understands memes. Just think of them as inside jokes for people who spend too much time online. You can read the actual press release about the meme here.
Now you may be wondering, “what am I supposed to do with this information?” I honestly have no idea. I suppose it says something good about the state of our world if the ADL has nothing else to do except point to dumb stuff on the Internet as racist
Still, it’s sad that online jokes, even dumb ones like this, can’t be left alone by racists and trolls. It’s stuff like this that gives all internet users a bad name. #NotAllMemes