In follow up to my post the other day about today’s “problems” I had to speak up about the recent events. I’ll admit I’m hesitant to share my thoughts but I stand by what I say and I am 100% accepting of others opinions. The tragedy in Paris is very real and has strongly effected many people and will effect the future. This is what I consider more crucial than a red cup. And yet people are still making it about themselves.

For the last couple of days all of my social media news feed has been filled with Eiffel towers, red, white, and blue profile pictures, and thoughtful Facebook statuses. Most of them I feel are genuine and emotional, especially for those who have spent a lot of time there, but some I feel took this as an opportunity to post their fabulous photos and talk about their amazing trip once; and that is frustrating. One news photographer said that while he was taking photos he saw countless people taking selfies in front of shooting sites and blood spots. I know in my heart that intentions are well and people are strongly effected by what has happened but what are we doing?

In the last few days I have had to bite my tongue while over hearing conversations about Paris that are uneducated and naïve. I have heard everything from “Why don’t we start worrying about our own country?” to “I am so annoyed with my Facebook feed being filled with Paris stuff.” and my favorite “If you don’t change your profile picture I’m going to assume your not supportive or the recent events.” First of all there are a million other ways to show your care and support. Second, what about all of the other countries? Suicide bombings in Baghdad, an earthquake in Japan and Mexico, Greece is bankrupt, ISIS has basically taken over the middle east, etc. These comments validate all of my fears about the homeostasis of our society. I’ll be honest and say that I have not read every article about what has happened, but I have read the latest updates from trusted sites and feel like I have a solid understanding of current events.

In one of my recent posts I challenged everyone to think about what their values were and to consider their values before getting invested in a topic or decision. I also have been thinking about my own values and how I want my values to be prominent in my life and my choices. A few values come to my mind (leadership, integrity, service, faith) and I feel like I can’t be satisfied with only changing my profile picture. I need to take action and feel like I have fully contributed as much as I can to something I feel is actually important to me.

I have never been to Paris or Japan or Baghdad or Mexico. I have no personal connection with any of these places and I know many people may not either. So why do we care so much? I thought about this a lot when I first started seeing the photos and posts on social media because I did not want to say I cared if I really didn’t. But I do. I may not be able to fully comprehend what is happening and I can’t relate to someone who has been through such a traumatic experience but I can understand. I don’t really know where I am going with this but I am tired of people being all talk and no action.

I am also tired of my profile picture defining me. If I don’t change it to show red, white, and blue for Paris does that mean I am selfish? What about unsupportive? Maybe even a terrorist as one post suggested. Last time I checked I’m neither of those things. I am the type of person to get strongly invested in something I care about and I get proud; ask my husband he’ll tell you. I would much rather go donate blood or supplies or money than simply change my profile picture. It just goes to show that we are still concerned about our public appearance.

I could go on and on about my thoughts about social media and desensitization but I’ll save it for later. For now please take the time to think about what you care about and how involved you want to be. Be honest in your doings and don’t be judgmental towards others. Understand that these events can unite the world and help with racial bias if we allow it to but that it can also tear us apart and make the years to come worse. You can only control yourself but you can lead by example.

Lets start putting action to our words! Let’s stop worrying so much about the details and blaming someone and just focus on what we can control. If you care about Paris, donate blood. If you care about Japan, donate supplies. If you care about who the next President will be, vote. If you care about Starbucks red cup, read this. If you would like check out the links below for more information on recent events or to donate.

Paris |
Japan |
Mexico |
Red Cross |
Doctors without Borders |

0 thoughts on “Why I am not talking about Paris”

  1. Chandler, your perspective is truly amazing.

    I changed my profile picture for less than 12 hours, but I felt I was being insensitive to victims, their families, and the other nations in this world currently experiencing a crisis. Although I have been to Paris, I didn't spend a lot of time there, so I don't feel as though I have a connection, nor the right to mourn. What I am mourning though is the vast impact these attacks place on society.

    I will admit that I tend to shy away from maintaining my knowledge of current affairs. With all the tragedy that is happening in the world, the sadness and grief are just too much for me. I am the kind of person who wants to change the world. I entered my profession to try and make a better place for my future generations, but the bureaucracy of it all has made me completely indifferent to my profession. Yes, my ignorance is selfish, but that does not mean I don't care.

    As for being able to demonstrate my support for these nations in need of aid, I truly wish I was in a position to send any kind of donation. Instead, all I can do is hope for the safety of survivors, all victims' loved ones, and hope that one day we can find peace (as cliché as that sounds).

  2. Hollie,

    I completely understand where you are coming from. Sometimes we don't have the means to donate physical items but we can donate our genuine positive thoughts and prayers. We can also, like I mentioned previously, change our perspective. We can shut down negative conversations or lift someone up who is having a hard time with it. We can even just bring the truth to people's attention. There is nothing wrong with not being able to physically donate!

    Like you, I too entered into a profession where I felt I could make a difference and help bring up a stronger generation but am struggling with the emotions that come with the unsuccessful stories. Ignorance is not always a bad thing, that is why it exists. We live in a society where we always need to know what is going on, who is doing what, and how we can get information faster. But sometimes it's okay not knowing how someone died, what happened to that shy kid in school, or what your friend is doing with her boyfriend.

    Ignorance truly can be bliss. By not being filled with so much information we can enjoy the simpler things in life and feel okay. I am currently working on a piece about this topic so I won't go into too much but I appreciate your comment and honesty.

  3. I definitely see where you are coming from and respect your opinion so much! I wasn't going to change my profile picture at first, but I saw a picture from 9/11 where Paris had spread out the United States Flag in front of the Eiffel Tower and it gave me chills. I changed my picture because I felt like it was one small thing I could do to join the feeling of unity and peace. I know it doesn't do anything for others, but for me, when I see my own profile picture with the flag, I am immediately reminded of the important things in life; that there are bigger things out there than my own small problems.

    xo, Chelsie @ Life with Rosie

  4. I did change my profile picture for the same reason Chelsie said. I do think there is a sort of power in the symbolism of it, of people coming together and even just focusing their thoughts on another area of the world. Other than the picture I haven't said anything about Paris anywhere really, because frankly I don't know what to say. I just don't have any words.

  5. So much goodness here. It is so easy to get caught up in the tide of what everyone else is doing and saying instead of thinking about how we can really help! I think where things like this break my heart is when folks start making huge generalizations about religions or groups of people based on what happened. It breaks my heart to see people talking about closing borders to refugees because one of the terrorists acted as one! Our world is so broken and I feel like opening our doors and reaching out to help is the best we can do to help. Thanks for sharing some organizations that people could check out to practically help!

  6. I didn't change my picture and I won't do it because it's not who I am. I don't do surface sympathy or empathy. If I care I prefer to take actions not make empty gestures and to me the profile pic felt empty. I don't judge others for doing it…this is just how I see it. I'd prefer to donate my time or money so thank you very much for the links your provided. I also agree with Lauren the generalization that are made about ppl or religions after these attacks scare me more than the attacks themselves. I had to listen silently today to someone in my office say horrible things about Muslims and the president. It hurt me to keep my mouth shut but it wasn't the time or place for that discussion. I pray for this planet because I know I will leave it and my daughter will be left to navigate this world alone. I worry about the world she will be left to deal with as a black woman and as an American especially when this country is also a target. Off soap box now…?

  7. I love this, Chandler – and I feel like it goes along so well with my post today too. I think it's a fine line to walk when some people genuinely care and others just want to give the appearance that they do or go along with the crowd. I have some French friends on Facebook that have expressed how amazing it is to see so many people change their profile picture – it's a simple yet powerful way to show support. But I agree with you that it's not all we should do! Because in the long run, it doesn't help anyone to have colors on a picture. Action needs to be taken.

  8. ABSOLUTELY! I fully support you on this. I don't think changing my profile picture, or sharing a story, helps anyone. Not the people in Paris, nor the people fighting cancer. While I think cancer sucks and want everyone to get well, sharing something on Facebook doesn't do anything. I got into a fight about this with my friends over the ice bucket challenge. One, California is in a drought so everyone pouring water over themselves was a waste. People also didn't realize that even if you were nominated you had to donate money, but if you chose not to do the ice bucket then you donated MORE money. I am all for bringing more recognition to a disease people don't know a lot about, but people weren't really educating themselves on it – exactly like people are saying pray for Paris but are uneducated to the issues in the rest of the world. But then people make you feel so guilty for not “supporting the cause” or having a different opinion.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!

    Cat at KittyKittyLaLa

  9. What an insightful post. I haven't heard anybody proclaiming terrorism if you don't change your profile picture. Sadly, though, I'm not surprised. We've all heard remarks that are lacking some facts. I can excuse emotionally driven ones initially, or at least understand where its coming from…tons of people don't think before they speak. All of this is extremely confusing and overwhelming. But where is that line to draw? I think your reasons are commendable, and I do wish more people could share your viewpoint! So thanks for speaking your mind. And my blood donation timing couldn't have been better. I hope others do the same!

  10. I agree! It makes me so sad that people are so quick to judge and burn down camps or close their borders just because they assume those people are involved. I saw a photo on Facebook of KKK members talking about how it they aren't acting in a true religion but more of selfish desires and I thought it was the same for the Muslim religion. Just because someone identifies themselves with a certain religion does not make them terrorists or against gays or whatever.

  11. I couldn't agree with you more! I don't have any kids yet but I am slightly afraid to have some with how corrupt the society is – and it will probably only get worse from here. I think I will be a good parent and raise my children with values but you never really know. Thanks for your input!

  12. I agree with you! I read your post and thought they went hand in hand as well. I do know that it shows support and brings awareness and for that I am grateful for the flag but it shouldn't stop there.

  13. I'm so glad you brought up the Ice Bucket challenge because I had the same thoughts when it all was happening! It quickly became more about who's was the coolest rather than actually raising money. Even though they did raise awareness and money people quickly made it about themselves.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. I love everything about this post. I could not understand why so many of my friends immediately changed their profile photos on Facebook to them in front of the Eiffel tower. I know some of them were just remembering and trying to show support, but something about big smiling selfies right after all that happened screamed “look at me, I was there, I'm a part of this” a little too much for my taste. And I do wish the world would act as one a bit more – like paying attention to everyone suffering. My brother lives in Japan yet I haven't seen anything about the earthquake here – had to hear about it from him.

  15. I love that your reaction to the tragedy is to “do something!” Posting on social media is fine for spreading awareness but to actually do something like donate to the Red Cross speaks so much louder than words and is such a huge support for the situation. I fully agree with what your saying here!