Once again, the jerks of the world prove to be the deciding factor behind why we can’t have nice things… and nice memes.
Back in the day, this Austrian guy named Adolf Hitler and his band of Nazi goons adopted the Hindu Swastika, a symbol for luck and prosperity, and used it as the insignia for their hate mongering SS. Now people generally tie the aforementioned symbol to the Nazis rather than its Hindu origins. We bring this up because it looks like another great symbol is being perverted by those with a hateful agenda.
Pepe the Frog, that green cartoon you all know and love, has become the unofficial mascot of the alt-right and has been added to the Anti-Defamation League’s list of hate symbols due to it’s recent ties to anti-Semitism. That means Pepe the Frog is in the same company with the Confederate flag and the Swastika. While the League noted that the meme didn’t originally have these connotations, they’re standing firm on their designation of the meme, which proliferates 4chan, Reddit and social media as a whole.
But it’s these message boards that have forced the League’s hand. A certain Alex Goldman, host of the Reply All podcast, described 4chan in recent show as “a nightmarish cesspool that is full of offensive stuff.”
Apparently, alt-right has been mixing white-supremacist icons with pop-culture,r resulting in Pepe the Frog with a Hitler mustache, a skullcap and even a KKK hood. The League, understandably, added that the images were used in “in hateful messages aimed at Jewish and other users on Twitter.”
“Once again, racists and haters have taken a popular internet meme and twisted it for their own purposes of spreading bigotry and harassing users,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the league’s chief executive, said in the release.
There are currently over 150 symbols listed in the League’s database that represent bigotry and hate. The aforementioned database called Hate on Display was started in 2000 to track hate groups and help identify symbols that are “potential calling cards of extremists and anti-Semites.”
This is why we can’t have nice memes. Way to go, haters.