France Profile Pictures

Why I Didn’t Change My Profile Picture In Light of the French Terrorist Attacks
By Matré Grant

It’s not that I think I’m somehow better for choosing not to use the French flag profile picture filter on Facebook. I’m also not criticizing anyone who chooses to use it. I think it’s a nice gesture and it raises awareness.

I also acknowledge that’s it is possible to raise awareness and feel sorrow for more than one country at once. I’ll try to name a few here, but I know that any list that I come up with now won’t be exhaustive. Lebanon, Kenya, Japan, the United States, France. Others.

I also know that sometimes the media chooses to run with one narrative. Of course, I wouldn’t know about the other incidents at all if some form of media hadn’t reported them to me, but I think it is clear which country is getting the most attention. People are upset because France is a relatively “developed” nation, and it hits close to home the possibility that terrorist attacks can occur in a country so similar to ours.

America is devastated about this; I am devastated about this; we all should be. However, the notion that this is an unexpected or unprecedented event “that could never” happen is slightly naïve. Just 14 years ago, America was in the same situation. Events like 9/11 or the 1996 Olympic bombings in Atlanta have proved that even so-called developed nations are not safe.

Terrorism is a major threat to many countries. We even have major cases of domestic terrorism going on in our own country. (Mizzou, Ferguson, et al).

It’s interesting that Facebook didn’t make filters for other effected nations or peoples. At least 240 people perished in Lebanon. I am not trying to compare crimes or say that one is more important than the other here, but I just care about every country affected more than I care about a filter that only highlights one incident that quite frankly makes me slightly suspicious of a single-narrative media.

I personally feel like choosing to change my profile picture would signal that I only care about one place when the whole world is suffering.

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and do not reflect the views of Penn, Makuu: The Black Cultural Center, or any other affiliated organizations.

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