After Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced a potential DACA deal, pro-Trump forums and Twitter lit up with mentions of “blackpilling”— the concept that the political process is useless, and that either completely dropping out of society or responding with mass violence is the answer. The idea that Trump would betray them, they said, was the ultimate blackpill.”
Blackpill (noun), blackpilling (gerund), and to blackpill (transitive verb) are relatively new, but since 2016 they’ve been pervasive among the so-called alt-right, whose adherents include neo-Nazis, white separatists, and the manosphere. The terms were inspired by The Matrix (1999), written by siblings Lilly and Lana Wachowski, in which the protagonist, Neo, is offered a choice of a virtual red pill or a virtual blue bill. “You take the blue pill, the story ends,” the character Morpheus tells Neo. “You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
“Red pill” – a metaphor for “reality, however harsh” – was adopted by the men’s rights movement, many of whose adherents frequent a sub-Reddit called The Red Pill. The Red Pill was also the title of a 2016 documentary about the men’s rights movement directed by Cassie Jaye.
The only semi-relevant definition I found for “black pill” in Urban Dictionary is dated November 18, 2016 (“ catastrophic prophecy or spiritless prophesying for the future that is not necessarily grounded in reality. A red pill gone hopelessly bleak”). But the term had been around for a while before then, as this tweet from “American nationalist” Mike Cernovich proves.
Blue pill: The system is fair.— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) July 26, 2016
Red pill: The system is rigged.
Black pill: This is fun!
Someone who calls himself “Young Himmler” responded to Cernovich with this image:
Lately, blackpilling has lost some of that Cernovichian joie de vivre.
Blackpilling is embracing nihilism or despair. Becoming depressed that we're (interpreted broadly, brother) going to lose/fail.— The Lawschool Grinch (@LawSchoolGrinch) September 22, 2017
On the other hand, you can count on Alexander Wang, the American fashion designer known for his black palette and puckish wit, to tweak the trope.
Deathpill is post-blackpill where you realise the only way out is to wait for Kali to destroy the universe and start over— ☭ kali (@vaporg0th) September 22, 2017
There’s also a white pill: “being aware of a difficult situation or position and having a fighting ‘can do’ attitude and not giving up, plus accomplishing said thing(s) within the difficult situation” (Urban Dictionary).
* Excellent name, and an excellent blog that the Columbia Journalism Review called “a media digest for people who don’t usually consume right-wing news."