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Instagram narcissists, please tell us how exactly Blackout Tuesday helps address structural inequalities of US society?

Guy Birchall
Guy Birchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall

Instagram narcissists, please tell us how exactly Blackout Tuesday helps address structural inequalities of US society?
Yet another vacuous online campaign has been spreading like a digital coronavirus so people can shout how much they care about George Floyd. You might want to practice social media distancing to avoid this cavalcade of banality.

You will be relieved to know that the internet attention-seekers of the world have found a way to make George Floyd’s death all about themselves. From San Diego to Sydney and from London to Buenos Aires, Instagrammers are supporting #BlackoutTuesday in a pointless show of vanity dressed up as activism. Is there anything more self-involved or purposeless than this? 

The idea behind the campaign is not to be active across social media today because this will finally end racism or something. Interestingly, the way all these bandwagon-jumping narcissists have chosen to not be active across social media is by posting a black square on their Instagram profiles and announcing to everyone that they will not be active across social media today.

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God, aren’t they just like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi all rolled into one? How noble and righteous of them! Surely in the face of such stunning bravery, Klansmen will ditch their robes for kaftans and trade burning crosses for singing ‘We Are The World.’ At long last, it turns out all that was required to end racism in America was one Instagram post from some politically correct Penelope/Felicity/Bianca from Brighton; it must have been the clenched fist emojis that finally clinched it.

Or maybe it was that bloke from that reality TV show a few years ago who put the final nail in the coffin of racism? No, it must’ve been Miley Cyrus, or Tom Brady, or Chris Hemsworth, after all if you can twerk, win the Superbowl or defeat Thanos, then you can obviously overcome racism. 

I suppose the argument, as is always the case in these instances, is that they are “raising awareness,” because obviously the blanket media coverage, protests, riots and looting would have passed us by without being helpfully informed by someone who couldn’t find Minneapolis on a map that “Orange man bad.” But as is always the case with these ostentatious displays of virtue, the fact that you are seen to care is more important than whether you actually do. Let alone achieve.

For British virtue-signalers, this latest outpouring of impotent rage has come at the perfect time, as they will no longer be banging their pans in the street every Thursday to show how much they like hospitals. Indeed, apparently Covid-19 doesn’t spread in protests as long as they are against racism. What possible other reason can there be for the police not nicking everyone who ignored social-distancing rules to gather in Trafalgar Square at the weekend to wave placards about a police incident that occurred over 4,000 miles and an ocean away?

The truly depressing thought is that these same people will soon get bored of this particular problem and move on to something else. Now we’re in Pride Month (or June as it used to be called), the black squares will be replaced by rainbow flags and America’s greatest sin will move on from being racism to homo-trans-bi-phobia. The lectures about white privilege will be swapped for ones about cisgender and straight privilege. The ever spinning merry-go-round of fashionable bien-pensant concerns will carry on turning, the hashtags will keep on trending, and nothing will change.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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