Black Pride, White Pride

Earlier this morning I came across this article by Justin Rosario on the concept of “white pride.”  Rosario posed the following question:

A question for anyone that claims to be a proud white person: What, exactly, are you proud of? I’ve asked this a few times and can’t seem to get a straight answer. Please don’t tell/ask me about black pride as it is not relevant to the question. I want to know why YOU are proud to be white. If the only way you can explain it is by comparing it to another ethnicity’s pride, you are not answering the question. Stay on topic and explain what it is about being white that fills you with pride.

He ended up with responses from mostly conservatives, and mostly avoiding the question and/or challenging him on one thing or another in an attempt to mask their own racism.  I think if the purpose is to illuminate racist trends, then it’s a fair question as there is no real good answer.  For the purpose of having an intelligent conversation about race, I think it misses the point entirely.  Let’s tweak it a little:

What is it about any immutable characteristic, something you were born into, be it your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or nationality, that makes you proud?  And do this in a vacuum, that is, considering only that characteristic.  That means no historical context, no personal struggles, etc.  What about that characteristic and that characteristic alone inspires pride?

If you phrase it like that you find that it’s silly to be proud of something you were born into and had no hand in achieving.  That was my biggest issue with Rosario’s article, that it started with the assumption that White Pride is inherently racist without doing a good enough job of explaining why.  For disenfranchised groups, you need context, otherwise the pride is meaningless.

  • “I’m proud to be a trans individual that is simply alive in a country that attacks and murders them at alarming rates.”
  • “I’m proud to be a black individual that has escaped the systemic racism in a country that disproportionately arrests and imprisons people just for looking like me.”
  • “I’m proud to be an out LGB individual in a place where only a small percentage of the people are okay with that.”
  • “I’m proud to be a white individual because…”

And that’s where the problem lies.  For many, simply being a minority and going about your day to day live in the United States takes tremendous courage.  White pride is inherently racist because white people haven’t faced such obstacles in the United States.  It’s willful ignorance of the fact that we are not living in a post-racial society and that many of the problems that have plagued ethnic minorities in this country still exist.  Except now ‘separate but equal’ is less whites get a heated bathroom and blacks get a shovel and a hose and more “every polling place should have one voting machine because that’s equality baby…oh, this district has fifty thousand black residents who will have to wait eight hours and this one has eight white guys who will have to wait eight seconds?  Oh well, equality baby!”  (And if you want to really cover the topic in depth, lumping several countries of origin, many of whom faced their own struggles in colonial America (and longer in several areas up until we had Kennedys to show us, hey them Irish Catholics are alright), under the catch-all label “white” is problematic in itself.)

I guess I’ll finish with my answer to my own question: I am proud of being myself and all that entails, one aspect being the color of my skin, but I am not proud of that aspect in itself, just like I’m not proud of being born bisexual, with brown hair, hazel eyes, five-foot-ten, or of being born in the United States.  These things have all factored into my achievements, some to a great extent, and some minimally.  I understand and respect that.

 

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About Alex

I am awesome.

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