Red White and Blah

Jesse Sutterley, News editor

Let’s make this very, very clear. I hate social media. In some ways it represents the fall of intelligence and critical thinking. It is definitely the beginning of a monoculture and the great hive mind of 20-somethings watching seven second Vine videos, posting everything they are doing to a wall where no one really cares to read.

Social media is the death of original thought and I can’t stand it.

I’m sure many of you are sick of hearing your Facebook friends, that you haven’t held a conversation with for months, claiming you’re racist because you don’t care or know about the events happening outside of Europe and the United States. But I am not here to shame you for that. Do your own research and inform yourself. That is not the point of this article.

Rather, I am looking at those that have plastered the French flag across their profile pictures and post “Pray for Paris,” which equates to “I am literally doing nothing for the people affected, but let’s pretend I care.”

In an article written on, Emma Kelly wrote, “I have noticed several stories on sites, including national news site, Metro, asking why Mark Zuckerberg didn’t offer a Lebanon flag profile pic filter… But be 100 percent honest with yourself—would you have used it? Of course not.”

I’m sorry, Kelly, but in case you were not aware: Facebook is a global website. Therefore, people from around the world use it! Just because you and your friends wouldn’t have used the Lebanese flag does not mean it doesn’t need to be offered as an option for those who would.

You wouldn’t see me sitting here complaining if they offered every flag of the world as a default so that you can show support for any country you would like. Although placing the flag over your face on a website does nothing for anyone anyway.

I have seen countless posts with someone claiming their boyfriend’s younger sister’s best friend spent a semester in France and so they feel connected to the people of France. Please, just stop. Are they really posting the flag to show support? Or to prove to their 200 Facebook friends that they care, shouting, “Hey look at me! Guys! Guys look at me, I care and know about stuff going on in the world!”

Now, it’s not that showing support for a tragedy is a bad thing. Attending memorials or candlelight vigils can be a very humbling experience. But by putting the flag over your profile picture, you are only focusing on one small portion of the world.

We are one people—one planet—we need to remember we are more alike than we want to acknowledge.

Claire Bernish sums up the misguided solidarity in an article written for Antimedia saying, “Without question, I mourn for Paris’ recent victims and their families… besides victims in Paris, an incomprehensibly astronomic number of people have been grieving loss of the highest order for some time—in places whose names roll off our tongues as if it’s accepted that violence simply happens there—and a majority likely couldn’t guess the colors on these victims’ flags.”

Terrorism and tragedy affect people all over the world, but it seems as though it is only when it happens in the West that anyone pays attention.

But as Bernish points out in her article, the problem is in the stereotypical assumption that car bombings and mass shootings happen in the Middle East everyday. Although it may happen more frequently than in western countries the lives of those affected are not any less important.

If you really want to do something to help the people of Paris, donate money to help! The three separate Kickstarter profiles for families of the Paris attacks are looking for contributions totaling $18,000. However, the largest donation I have seen is $25 made by two backers! That’s only two people who are actually trying to do something to help in the wake of the attacks. And you sit there with the flag on your profile claiming that it raises awareness.

One flag filtered profile photo=one prayer? Give me a break.