In the movie The Matrix, “red pilling” meant recognizing a hard truth and rejecting the safety of ignorance. In liberal media, however, the expression is nowadays used to mean, “a person becoming radicalized by conservative spaces online.”
At least that's how it's used in this piece that details accounts by several US teachers, some of whom are identified only by their first name, who speak about teenage students getting “radicalized” online.
The stories cover all the key points of the usual online radicalization narrative: the boys in question are described as sweet, kind, and quiet – before the internet turned them into misogynists, homophobes, white-supremacists, flat-earthers, as well as critics of Black Lives Matter, vaccines, liberals, and so on.
When the article talks about “far right” spaces online, it includes Twitter, because one of the boys, according to his teacher Olivia, turned into a monster after he started following accounts there. YouTube is also mentioned as another platform where this ideology blossoms, as are Facebook and Reddit. Could the implication be that more censorship is needed on these online places in order to “save the children?”
““There's always been boys who ask, ‘Don't girls just lie [about rape], though?,' and we do want to take those questions seriously,” one teacher said. “But increasingly they're using language that sounds straight from Reddit, and they aren't satisfied with an answer or a statistic I can cite. These are teenage boys who have MRA [Mens Rights Activists] talking points. They're extremely fixated on the idea of false accusations and they talk a lot about women getting a lot of money by accusing men of rape.”
But the focus is more obviously on the role teachers could play in stopping this red-pilling (as understood by the article's author) from happening.
One of the educators quoted here blames conservative parents for influencing their children, but also singles out star podcaster Joe Rogan as “the biggest threat to critical thinking in the last decade.”
This is the opinion of a teacher identified as Tessa, who is apparently not a fan of exposing children to a variety of sources of information (despite the fact this is a key perquisite to develop critical thinking). Thus Rogan's musings are described as “an ideology” that can lead to teens reading Jordan Peterson' books – and it all goes downhill from there, suggests Tessa.
“They think I'm brainwashed by liberal narratives and that I'm compelled to lie to them,” she said.
But another teacher, named as Jacob, doesn't like it when the shoe is on the other foot: when conservative parents complain about some of the ideas he chose to discuss with students, he reacts by saying, “I just informed them, that's it. It's like just exposing them to knowledge is threatening.”