Far-Left Media AMPLIFIES Racists on Purpose To Smear Moderates

DeepEnigma

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From Fortnite to Alt-Right
There’s a reason video games are such fertile ground for white nationalist recruitment.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: No, the shooter who live-streamed himself killing 50 worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this month was not being serious when he wrote that “Spyro the Dragon 3 taught me ethno-nationalism” and “Fortnite trained me to be a killer.”

Rather, with this statement, the killer was ridiculing a trope that has circulated in the media increasingly since the Columbine killings in 1999: that video games are capable of brainwashing vulnerable teenagers and turning them into violent sociopaths. Some media outlets have described this section of the manifesto in particular as “trolling” or as “bait” — and it is both of those things, certainly.

And yet as a scholar who studies video game culture, I do want to talk about gaming. Because I think it plays a special role as a vector for spreading the messages of white supremacist ideology that lead to violence. And I think it’s a conversation that we can have without taking the bait — because this is not about the content of the games themselves but about the way the culture that surrounds gaming provides particularly fertile soil for sowing the seeds of resentment that grow into hate.

Modern internet-based recruitment efforts are designed around the creation of a frictionless pipeline that slowly inoculates potential converts to hate — like putting a bunch of would-be Pepe the Frogs in a slowly boiling pot.

Rather than waiting for targets to find them, recruiters go to where targets are, staging seemingly casual conversations about issues of race and identity in spaces where lots of disaffected, vulnerable adolescent white males tend to hang out. Those who exhibit curiosity about white nationalist talking points or express frustration with the alt-right’s ideological opponents such as feminists, anti-racism activists and “social justice warriors” are then escorted through a funnel of increasingly racist rhetoric designed to normalize the presence of white supremacist ideology and paraphernalia through the use of edgy humor and memes.

Of course, video games aren’t the only places online where these conversations are taking place. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are also common culprits.

But video games in particular make for an ideal recruiting venue. Why? Because they come equipped with an easy-to-understand narrative of the unwelcome “invasion” of “our spaces” that, in the right hands, can readily be expanded beyond the world of gaming.

Surveys show that in the United States, gaming is not dominated by people of one race or gender. But the stereotype of the hard-core gamer as a geeky, adolescent, straight, white male still persists within our culture — and white nationalist recruiters are great at exploiting it.

As events like the 2014 harassment campaign #GamerGate amply demonstrated, to some members of the gaming community, the increased visibility of people of color, women and L.G.B.T.Q. people in gaming circles is seen less as an expansion and more as a hostile takeover. White supremacist recruiters have recognized this feeling of resentment bubbling up and pounced, seeking out gamers who fit the stereotype. They tell those gamers that they really do represent the rightful majority within their community and that all others are either opportunistic fakers only pretending to be into games or intruders trying to ruin everything fun and unique about gaming culture with their insidious political correctness.

Planting the seeds of this narrative is the first step toward cultivating an “us versus them” mentality. According to Christian Picciolini, a former white supremacist recruiter and a co-founder of the nonprofit organization Life After Hate, this type of rhetoric can help create a politics of entitlement and resentment organized around race. So, if a young white man can be convinced that gaming “belongs” to him and that it is on the verge of being taken away, he might be more easily persuaded to accept similarly structured arguments about, say, the dangers of allowing nonwhite immigrants to take over the country under the noses of “real” Americans.

In posts in the “Gaming” section of the explicitly white nationalist message board Stormfront, participants debate among themselves about which mainstream game releases are the most amenable to white power ideology. They exchange links to servers on free chat platforms like Discord for “whites only” and to groups dedicated to white nationalism on Steam, an online gaming store. (In the wake of scathing news coverage, Steam and Discord have made efforts to try to get rid of this content.)

People with this type of ideology have also taken to creating white supremacist games of their own, either by creating explicitly neo-Nazi-themed modifications of popular titles like Doom, Counter-Strike and Stellaris or developing their own indie titles. A few standouts in the indie category include titles like Ethnic Cleansing, which allows gamers to play as a skinhead or a Klansman while participating in a “race war,” and Muslim Massacre: The Game of Modern Religious Genocide, which encouraged players to “take control of the American hero and wipe out the Muslim race.”

So if we know gaming culture is being exploited by white supremacist recruiters, where do we go from here? It can be tempting to write off video games as toxic hotbeds of hate, too tainted for the uninitiated to engage with. But this would be exactly what extremists like the New Zealand shooter want.

Despite the enormous popularity and profitability of the video game industry, gaming culture still operates in the shadows. Most media pay almost no attention to it, even though the global market for video games is currently larger than those for movies and music combined.

This inattention signals that gaming is a special place, outside the mainstream, that could indeed, with enough outright hostility, be made to “belong” to a particular group.

But this signaling is compounded, because our unwillingness to pay attention to this influential medium means that the video game industry has next to no incentive to take responsibility for the social spaces that it fosters. Our failure to take games seriously provides the companies in the games industry an excuse not to invest the time, effort and money that would be required to moderate their communities properly.

There will always be dark corners of the internet for neo-Nazis to hide in and recruit from. There will always be those who claim that gaming isn’t for everyone. But we can insist that the companies that control gaming spaces recognize that this community comes with extremism dangers and that gaming is large enough that these companies need to behave as responsible actors. We can only help to reshape and reform these communities from within. And if we turn away, we risk abandoning one of the world’s largest entertainment and communication machines to those who would use it for evil ends.

Megan Condis is an assistant professor of game studies at Texas Tech University and the author of “Gaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture.”
Source: New York Times


White Nationalists Adopt Clowns as Their Next Racist Symbol (Yes, Seriously)

Online personalities in far-right and white nationalist online circles are attempting to attribute racism and anti-Semitism to an image of cartoon character Pepe the Frog depicted poorly drawn and as a clown, and that effort has gained notable traction in recent months. Far-right proponents want the broader internet to believe the character directly represents their worldview, but the situation in whole represents an attitude shift in far-right circles online and a slow inching toward even more radical elements of the movement.

The clown render of Pepe the Frog, which KnowYourMeme researchers have identified as being known as “Honk Honk” or “Honkler,” began spreading across the internet last year. In recent months, the meme has gained a foothold in the far-right and is bleeding into racist propaganda. Pepe the Frog, originally from the comic series “Boy’s Club,” was co-opted by an iteration of the white nationalist movement that emerged in 2015 and dubbed itself the “alt-right”—a term created as part of a strategy to obscure the inherent racism and antisemitism of the movement in hopes of making its agenda more palatable among conservatives.

On 4chan, there is an abundance of memes depicting the character lynching black people (depicted in stereotypically racist ways), operating gas chambers, and deploying racial slurs. On February 11, users on 4chan’s “politically incorrect” forum board launched “operation honk,” a campaign with the mission of spreading the character across the internet and boosting its popularity, and then returning the character back to 4chan where it could be associated with racism. The “Operation Honkler” post cited by KnowYourMeme reads: “They will adopt our child, and post Honkler on social media under mainstream memes already in circulation. There will come a time when we must take him back. … Whether of the HONK or not, we must perpetuate this meme to show the world our ideas.”

The sentiment of the “Honkler” meme has also appeared in written format on venues where images won’t fit. A clown emoji and a globe emoji together has been used to convey the phrase “clown world” where the phrase isn’t written out fully. Such references can be found in numerous Twitter profiles, including that of Rebel Media personality Martina Markota, who Salon reported in 2017 as having ties to the far-right. “Honk Honk” memes were also used by “Microchip”—a pseudonym used by a far-right troll who made waves propagandizing in favor of Donald Trump during the 2016 election— to replace slurs and curse words in his posts on Gab.


The phrase “clown world” and accompanying emojis unify far-right social media users in their exasperation over an imagined state of collapse in the Western hemisphere that they largely blame on immigrants and minority groups. The force driving “Honkler” across the far-right is the same bleak worldview that led white nationalists to embrace Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. In their minds, if there is nothing that they can do to stop the supposed “great replacement” of white people in their “homelands” and no politicians who care enough about their cause to implement real policies that favor their agenda, they may as well accept the outcome and wrench whatever they can out of the system, like Yang’s promise of $1,000 per month universal basic income. This mentality is often referred to as “black pilling.”

“Honkler” and “clown world” memes were recently incorporated into “Goy Talk,” a new but growing web-based white nationalist podcast. The show’s hosts advocate white nationalism in a detached way, and embody the same increasingly nihilistic attitude among the white nationalist and white supremacist movements in the United States conveyed in the repetition of the phrase “clown world.”

“Goy Talk” hosts express racist and anti-Semitic views as a staple of their programming, with guests that include David Duke, Christopher Cantwell, and Patrick Little. Nevertheless, they are ultimately nihilistic about the state of the world and their ability to change it without mass-organized action reminiscent of the violent writings of James Mason in his book, “Siege.”

A March 28 episode of “Goy Talk” opens with a heavily edited video featuring the Honkler character, and one of the display images used for a show host is edited in “Honkler” style. Additionally, the hosts of “Goy Talk” have modified their profiles on Twitter to include clown imagery.


The Twitter account for “Goy Talk” posted an image yesterday of an anti-Semitic meme modified to depict a racist caricature as a clown.

https://archive.is/hASmn
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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All people need to ask is "what is the logic behind this very extreme conclusion you've drawn?"

Okay sign is racist, clowns are racist, anything that the Far Left mind-reading brains perceive as racist is racist, etc

None of these are defensible positions. They are empty, dogmatic impositions on any freethinking individual, and the only people who accept these definitions are brainwashed idiots with as little critical thinking (or even less) than the people who wrote it.

Keep up the smears. It's just showing these morally-bankrupt institutions for what they are: propaganda.
 

Barnabot

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Counterhegemonics then. If you can make most of these people loose their critical thinking then maybe the same perpetrators behind this bullshit can supress the remaining ones and then honk honk. You can shut everything and everyone who oposes you and no one else will think of this as fascism because they'll be too busy honking around.

I think this shit also happens in Brazil and in other countries.
 

danielberg

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There is currently no other minority "mainstream" group with influence who is more racist than the far left so of course they project and smear as hard as they can.
 
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What this is ignoring is there really is an attempt to "colonize" gaming and gaming culture and make it a "safe space" for anyone but gamers who were already there.

The tone of people like Anita Sarkeesian and the whole Kotaku mindset is not wanting to "expand" gaming culture but to fundamentally change it completely, it's a "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" attitude, whenever a game does come along that isn't something they personally would approve of they piss and moan about it instead of accepting that the world doesn't revolve around them and their tastes.

They've done nothing but foster the ability of the Alt Right to use gaming as a recruitment tool by being uncompromising assholes who really do seem to take great joy in shunning people and act surprised when the people they've shunned fight back.

It's just so stupid and unnecessary, there's no reason there can't be a wide variety of games made for a wide variety of audiences, instead they insist video games can only be made one way and that's fostered a lot of resentment and backlash.