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.