Saturday, 14 November 2015

Changing the colour of your profile picture to show support for a cause? - What is the point? If want to be supportive, be supportive!

Changing the colour of your profile picture to show support for a cause? - What is the point? If want to be supportive, be supportive!



Last night (I’m sure every knows), there was a brutal terrorist attack in Paris. Along with different people opining via social media there was also a plethora of people changing the color of their Facebook profiles to the colours of the french flag, in order to show support for the Parisians. This act is reminiscent of how recently people have changed the colour of their Facebook profile to a rainbow to show support of LGBT rights.


Changing the colour of your profile picture seems to me a fatuous, attention-seeking act - it screams to me “look how good of a person I am” and makes me question whether the person authentically supports the cause or just wants to be perceived as supporting it and receive approbation for doing so. Maybe everyone is not as critical or pessimistic as myself but realistically: does changing your profile picture make victims of that cause feel more supported? Probably not.


I was very bullied growing up in every aspect of my life. I was an easy target - mixed race, “posh”, ballet and Irish dancer and was quite effeminate. The place where I received the most bullying like a lot of other victims was school. It started happening when I moved school from St. Brides in south Belfast to St. Joseph's in East Belfast, but it was the worst in secondary school in Our Lady and St. Patrick's College Knock. I was probably one of the most, if not the most bullied person in the year or possibly the entire school - you name it they did it to me: name calling, physical bullying, spitting, rumor spreading and stealing.


One of the biggest bullying tactics they used was homophobic bullying - they bullied me because I acted in ways and took part in activities which were not perceived as normal for a boy to do. Out of the 200 people in my year I would say about 90% of them were involved in some stage and sadly enough teachers did not seem to want to intervene - actually some of them seemed to encourage it.  


Out of all the people who use to bully me, I can count with my fingers how many of them have been contrite and apologized to me . It was  therefore quite shocking for me to witness the amount of people on Facebook changing their profile pictures to show support of LGBT rights. Yes, I understand they may not be homophobic anymore but it does not change that they were a perpetrator in the past.  

Instead of changing the colours of your profile picture to show support, do something about it. If you want to show support to LGBT apologize to those you use to bully because of their perceived sexuality and stand up for people who are at the end of bullying in the future. Actions speak louder than words, but words speak louder than changing your profile picture.


Adam Henry Magee
@adamhenrymagee



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