Hopefully my point is made in that statement. I changed my profile to the Tricolore.
What was probably meant to be a heightened awareness on social media turned into a backlash in the past few days after what occurred in Paris. When I read a status in opposition I quickly responded to it thinking that it was just said without tact.
It was a relative of mine who lives in the UK and I wanted to explain why it might seem like more people on her feed seemed to care about France than other countries with recent turmoil. However, I didn’t realize more people shared her misguided opinion.
I explained that France was one of the United States oldest allies and there certainly had a huge population of French citizens all over the world. Not only that, Paris is a pretty popular location—even I had the chance to visit. However, even if I hadn’t been there, I would have changed my profile, it’s my choice. I pointed out that recently our country of birth, Dominica had been affected by a hurricane. It hadn’t made as much news as France did because of our numbers. There’s just not that many of us in the world who are from there, or people who know of us. However, my timeline is filled with our past peers. That’s how we work—by numbers.
The article that made me write this entry can be found here.
First, let me state what changing my profile means to me because it seems like the author shed light on this—that the people should know why they are changing their profiles. It never even crossed my mind that changing my profile was meant to be questioned. We all changed our profiles to stand in solidarity. It baffles me that this isn’t blatantly obvious.
It’s likened to saying: “my condolences,” “I didn’t know each of the deceased but we feel for you.” “It sucks what happened.” “We experienced 9/11 we know you’re going through a tough time.” “We stand with you.” “This could have been us.” “We are all changing our profile in awareness if people haven’t already heard.”
I’m sure there are other reasons but I’m assuming that they all fall within those thoughts. I don’t understand why these people are trying to take away from the tragedy by making it seem like France deserved it. And, that is my point.
When a friend of mine shared the article on his profile I commented by pointing out that clearly the author needed to write something controversial for hits (and I’m helping) because there is absolutely nothing profound about taking a negative stance on this. It’s nerve-racking the opinions people will have just to make it in the news. So, it wasn’t a surprise when I saw an article about the profile changing backlash. We could have kept only the victims and our countries pursuit of the terrorists as a forefront, but no, social media has to have a hissy-fit about us not doing enough.
Really, you want to do something more than change your profile? No one is stopping you! Go do it!
Social media gives all sorts of tactless and insensitive people the platform to voice nonsense. All the points established about other countries that Facebook didn’t make a profile changing app for… You guys do know it’s an app right? Go create it! If you cared so much about Lebanon and Russia and the other countries you mentioned, why haven’t you voiced that prior? Is it somewhere on your feeds history?
I posted my opinion once I realized that more than one person changed the terrorist attack to France’s support of slavery, Haiti and a mention of African countries I finally had enough. Then, suddenly there were attacks. Ok, people are assuming this is much more than solidarity. However, why hadn’t I seen posts on their timeline earlier about this. Is this a huge fuck you to France?
I decided to hide my initial post (on the left) when finally a peer wrote a novel about I should take back my statement about France being one of the US oldest ally. I think he misunderstood what I meant, which is normal when people are passionate about things but choose to speed read and not understand people’s point. I have freedom to choose to do what I need to do with my post. I certainly didn’t want to waste my time arguing with someone who I foresaw as much more intelligent than me and explain to him how to be sensitive without getting a history lesson.
Then I reminded myself: this is why my entries have been more about running than that of politics, religion and sexuality.
Everything controversial I avoid. It’s no one else’s opinion because I’m getting older and more conservative in my mindset. Conservative in the perspective that making the choice to change my profile photo does not affect anyone in a negative way. However, if someone thinks you showing your support is wrong, they clearly don’t have much else going on in their day—perhaps?
I received a direct message from a peer who I wasn’t sure wanted to be linked. He agreed with me. He placed everyone in three groups:
- The people who show their humane sign and illustrates some form of solidarity be it through their profile pics, pray for Paris, etc. (this is where he and I fit in)
- The “What about Kenya? Paris has enslaved Haitians, etc.” (there were posts about these but I think they also felt a profile change was warranted)
- Gun lovers who feel that arming every American with guns will solve the problem and blames Obama during their rants. (This makes absolutely no sense).
Furthermore he went on to say, “what’s disturbing to me, especially when it comes to African Americans (sic), is we’re so misinformed about information that it’s easy for them to repost something without doing some actual research. Bringing up history doesn’t resolve any issues that occurs today. Some of them didn’t stop to think that there are black people in France and the tragedy affected them as well. In one instance a man’s cellphone saved his life from a bullet and he was black!
I just fear sometimes that our signs of solidarity is being confused and labeled trendy. Having a different opinion makes you “anti-whatever” and the ignorance level has risen to a new level. We’re slowly losing our well-being and it’s sad to watch at times. But I just wanted to take the time to say I identify with what you said. I find the best solution when I see something I completely disagree with on Facebook these days is to keep scrolling!”
On the friend’s whose profile shared the article stated human behavior:
“It’s really interesting that the post reads she does not need to broadcast to the world her support or solidarity however she did so in writing the post. Psychologically as a group called humanity come together to support others who have been affected by tragedy. If we go back to 9/11 and everyone had the American flag in their homes, cars on buildings is a way to feel united. Being united gives humanity a sense of well-being to see that other’s feel as they do. This is psychology 101. However back to the post that I just read why comment on it at all I would never judge or post if a person does not choose to have the overlay on the photo. And as far as action how does she know that others have not took action? Silly girl you have a lot to learn about human nature.”
Even with all this though, I can’t give up hope on humanity. I do hope we’ll learn to live peacefully one day. In the meantime, just accept everything for what it is. You don’t care about Paris so you didn’t change your profile picture. Slavery has nothing to do with us standing with France. Bring Back Our Girls, Beruit, Russia all these places got media coverage. If it didn’t, find better media sources! It’s perfectly ok for you to change your profile in solidarity, or not.