Alt-Right, it sounds like a key on a keyboard and for those who know what it means, many wish that were the case.
NPR‘ defines Alt-Right as a group that supports anti-Semitic and white supremacist ideology. The mostly online movement stands against multiculturalism, immigration, feminism, and (most proudly) political correctness.
According to The Economist the political movement only recent gained tread when Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump fired the CEO of his campaign and hired Steve Bannon.
Steve Bannon’s resume includes former executive chairman of Brietbart, a conservative political news website that has posted stories and shown support for the Alt-Right movement.
Trump has tweeted several pictures that were made by the hate group.
Taking a step back from the possible implications of the Alt-Right movement and its support from Trump, there is their mascot.
Political parties have their own mascots, the Republicans have the elephant and the Democrats have the donkey.
Alt-Right has decided to troll the nation and make their mascot the wildly popular meme Pepe, the frog.
They Have Taken Pepe Hostage
Since the Alt-Right was founded on the internet it only makes sense that they made their mascot a popular meme. They declared Pepe, the frog their mascot.
A little history on Pepe according to Vice writer Roisin Kiberd, Pepe appeared in a series of blog posts from Myspace blogger Matt Furie in 2005.
Sites like Reddit and 4chan, are where the Alt-Right started and where Pepe remained popular even after the fall of Myspace.
In 2015, some ten years later, Pepe was declared the sixth most popular meme of the year which is well deserved considering he was used by stars like Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj.
The popularity of Pepe is what makes the adoption of it by the Alt-Right so troubling.
Many people have retweeted or posted Pepe in some form of another on social media. Now it makes people appear that the support the Alt-Right, when they often do not.
“‘Hey, you anonymous white supremacists, stop making my frog Trump,’ ” asked Furie, Pepe’s original artist.
Alt-Right Causing Havoc
Through these sites the Alt-Right has been able to grow and cause the kind of havoc that internet trolls cause.
For example, following the 2016 Presidential debate, Alt-Right got together on Reddit and 4chan to help swing polls put out by popular news sites.
Alt-Right got together and flooded the polls saying that Trump won the debate. Almost all early polls said that Trump had won the debate but later polls that weren’t skewed showed the opposite.
Alt-Right has been so successful in propping up their mascot Pepe that he is now classified by the ADL as a hate symbol putting in the same category as the swastika and the burning cross.
Terminology for this article:
Meme- an element of a culture that is typically expressed through images primarly through social media sites.
Internet Trolls- someone on the internet that is mean and often belittling to another indivitual or crowd.
Reddit- An anonymous social media site where people talk about similar interests.
4chan- An image based social media site where anyone can post pictures anonymously.
ADL-The Anti-Defamation League which focuses on hate symbols.