The following is an edited extract from Outraged: Why Everyone Is Shouting and No One Is Talking.
"Don’t boo. Vote,” said Barack Obama in 2016. Those simple words, spontaneously uttered at a convention, tell us everything we need to change about outrage.
The problem is, we wave our fists at our issues instead of taking a swing at them. We intellectualise society’s faults, dissecting them on our Facebook pages, debating them on Twitter and untangling them in blogs, feeding into our self-serving agendas of perception and popularity – but rarely do we make the necessary strides to effect change in the real world.
We boo, but we don’t vote.
Even habitual provocateur Katie Hopkins conceded to me ‘we’d both probably argue that me gobbing off on Twitter is not gonna change anything. So how do you impact or effect real change? That is the challenge for Hopkins.’ And if the bigots who speak in the third person have figured it out, it’s about time we did too.
Watch: Mia Freedman interviews Dotty Charles on No Filter. Post continues after video.
So rather than using our narcissistic apps simply to narrate our experiences in this twenty-first-century social cesspit, it’s time to figure out how we’re actually going to get out of it. Let’s stop talking about what we’re going through and work out where we’re going to! Because there is still so much to be truly outraged by.
There’s the gender pay gap, racial bias, police brutality, homophobia, transphobia, misogynoir, gun control, and those absolute f*ckwits who think climate change is a hoax. The fact is this: worthwhile causes still exist.
If you insist on being outraged, why not try some of these on for size: in South Africa, it’s estimated that more than 1000 incidents of rape occur every single day, with one in four men admitting to having sexually assaulted a woman. Or how about the fact that abortion is still illegal in more than 50 countries?
Then there’s the small matter of stop and search practices in the UK, where black people are nine times as likely as whites to be randomly checked for the possession of drugs.
Maybe you could also consider the 14 million young girls forced into child marriage every year, or that annually thousands of women are permanently forced out of their jobs once they become pregnant, and I’m sure you’ll concur that there are more pressing matters on the outrage agenda than Jamie Oliver’s jerk rice, which earned him accusations of cultural appropriation.
Listen to Dotty Charles on No Filter. Post continues below.
By all means get angry. Get as angry as you possibly can. But do it with an ambition that extends beyond social media kudos. Because all we are doing is desensitising a generation and robbing them of their right to be effectively furious.