"It's ok to be" meme tweet dropping into a bowl of milk

thebarrowboy/Flickr @philsadelphia/Twitter (CC-BY) Remix by Jason Reed

The alt-right’s favorite slogan is now a hilarious meme

To be or not to be OK, that is the question.

 

Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Published Jan 25, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 3:25 am CDT

What is it OK to be? What is it OK not to be? These questions are at the center of a new meme that people are using to set up a joke about something that people should never do. Like the controversial practice of pouring milk into a bowl before adding cereal.

Or putting chocolate mousse on a person. (This scene is from the BBC comedy I’m Alan Partridge.)

Or disliking a song by Ariana Grande.

https://twitter.com/Iegendsofpop/status/956437595654733824

Or…dabbing in 2018.

https://twitter.com/DuckleDuckGS/status/956282360634527744

But the format for this meme has darker roots. White supremacists starting using the phrase “It’s okay to be white” last year as a poor attempt to excuse their hateful beliefs. The slogan became popular with the alt-right on sites like 4chan and Twitter, and some users urged people to write the slogan on posters and display them on college campuses to inflame the left. Earlier this month, people began using the phrase in “it’s okay to be” tweets that listed the many things it was OK to be. The most popular tweet that followed this format included the hashtag #killidentitypolitics.

https://twitter.com/caydendoeslife/status/952404121956450304

The tweet was quickly parodied and turned into a meme this week, with people following the format of the original “it’s okay to be” tweet but adding in one thing that it’s not OK to be or do.

https://twitter.com/R_Janeece/status/955833641581580290

https://twitter.com/RedGoner0/status/953001217294323712

https://twitter.com/sexylocaIsingle/status/954144367391879168

Is there another lesson to learn from these simple tweets? As this Twitter user pointed out, the entire history of our society has told people that it’s OK to be white and straight.

Maybe this meme will help people recognize that fact. (Maybe?!)

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2018, 11:02 am CST