On Pride

Gay pride!

This bit I found on my friend’s blog; it’s an excerpt from something he read (and agrees with, minus the vulgarity):

“You have no right to be proud, unless you did it yourself. That goes for anything from racial pride to patriotism. Your race, gender and nationality are fucking accidents of birth. Being proud of something you got stuck with when mamma squeezed you out is stupid. You have a right to be proud of your own personal accomplishments, and perhaps those of your children (if you were actually a good parent, and your kids didn’t succeed by sheer bloody-mindedness alone). That’s it. Your parents fucked, Mom got knocked up, and ~9 months later, there you were. Race, gender and nationality handed to you out of some cosmic lottery machine. Fuck your white pride, black pride, national pride, and all the horseshit that goes along with it.”

…and my response:

Though I agree that all one’s characteristics & fundamental circumstances are indeed endowed by chance, I wholeheartedly disagree with the position that pride is irrelevant. On the contrary, pride is absolutely necessary in many contexts. But before delving further, I must mention how this writer’s opinion is particularly juvenile & lacking in thorough analysis.

Pride is a quintessential component of social movements. Look at feminist, civil rights, queer movements of past and present – none of these would have succeeded without <<spirit>> and <<enthusiasm>> – in essence, pride. It seems that this writer’s opinion might’ve been influenced by pride in the context of nationalism & fascism, both of which are quite irrational.

Furthermore, I could just as easily argue how this writer’s opinion is fashioned exquisitely by his circumstances – he’s white, I presume? I hate to be presumptuous, but it’s easy enough to lambast pride when one’s own ethnicity has enjoyed the complete opposite of oppression in contrast to non-Caucasians in America.

My point? Pride is a component of oppressed groups – women, ethnic minorities, queer people – enthusiasm born of a sharp difference with the establishment who aim to achieve equality for themselves. This author’s opinion seems almost regressive, for without pride, the white heterosexual establishment would have no problem smashing efforts by women, queers, and other minorities to achieve at least legal equality.

Pride stems from aspiration for a cause, mild admiration for one’s homeland, and, as aforementioned, accomplishments. That’s completely acceptable. Pride becomes unacceptable and dangerous only when taken to an extreme – especially in the many volatile forms of nationalism.

——————–

That said, what do you think?

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2 responses to “On Pride

  1. word sista

    – rajiv

  2. Okay. I can’t help but think that if we presume the writer is white, we can presume he is male as well. And if he is white, male, and also straight (another presumption), he probably feels such animosity towards what he sees as baseless pride because straight white males nowadays don’t seem like they have any sort of individualism to be proud of. Because they’ve been “in power”, not oppressed, or what have you, for most of history, I can’t really blame him for feeling this way towards pride. If he had any pride, and if you put it up to the “we’ve had to fight for each of our rights” mentality of many prideful (not in the arrogant sense) minorities, his pride would seem very…insincere? Or arrogant.

    To him, the “you just happened to be born with it, so why be proud of it” argument might have more to do with how he feels at a loss when it comes to personal pride. How can a straight, white male say he is proud of it without getting some sort of minority backlash? Now, I understand that the author’s vulgarity and lack of eloquence don’t reflect that this is his current moral dilemma, but I know that there are straight, white guys that feel this way, and I do feel sorry for them. That is what this post has inspired me to think about. It’s not that they don’t have anything to be proud of – it’s that showing any sort of pride can easily be targeted as arrogance. Or that after, through history, all the oppressive things straight, white men have done, the current population of them on the whole now has to suffer for it.

    I agree with everything you said regarding the value, drive, and inspiration that pride provides – don’t get me wrong. I just think that it is unfortunate for people – here, straight, white men – to have such unfortunate stigma when it comes to their pride. If that made any sense.

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