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The Pepper Bough

Memes are not hate symbols

Joshua Sandoval, Reporter

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If your friend sent you a picture of a smug looking frog what would your reaction be? Would you think “What an offensive image, this is obviously Nazi symbolism and should be considered a hate crime.”? Probably not, if you’re a sane person anyways. Now if you thought “Ha, nice Meme, friend!”, you still have some tight bolts up there.

The meme referenced in the last paragraph? You guessed it, Pepe the frog. Notice how I didn’t use quotations? That’s because that’s all it is, a meme. A harmless meme turned “hate symbol”. See how I used quotations there? That’s because it’s as irrational as it sounds. If you don’t know Pepe the frog here’s some background, “Pepe the Frog is a popular Internet meme. The fictional green anthropomorphic frog with a frog-like face and a humanoid body is originally from a comic series by Matt Furie called Boy’s Club.” The first noticeable use of him as a came in the form of a reaction image in texts or posts. Due to his smug expression he fit well when someone was being “trolled” online, or how I use him, as a reaction image in texts when I make a good pun.

It took off when many people started making variations of Pepe. These were called “rare” Pepe’s and people ironically “traded and collected” them online. Harmless right? WRONG! Just kidding it was right. But just like LITERALLY ANYTHING on the internet, it can be turned into a bad thing. That’s exactly what neo-nazis of the internet did. Now a comic frog is a hate symbol and you can be punished for using it. The thing is though, it shouldn’t be like that. They didn’t go after Pepe because they thought, “Hey, this is the perfect embodiment of racism and hate.” It was because it was a popular thing on the internet. Had we had a problem like this when Doge (remember him?) was popular he would no doubt be a target too. Imagine saying “Wow, much like” got you in trouble. Ridiculous, just like it is for Pepe.

Virtually everything today is on the internet, and because of that everything has the potential of becoming a meme. Which in turn makes it up for grabs to anyone in the world. There ARE bad memes, memes created for the sole purpose of spreading hate, but Pepe the frog isn’t one of them. When your grandma calls you over and says “Look at this sassy and cute frog”, you shouldn’t have to explain to her that she has to go to prison now for enjoying a Pepe. You should be able to look at her with a smile and say “Hey, that’s pretty good.” #MemeLivesMatter

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Keeping Colton High School informed and entertained since 1917
Memes are not hate symbols