I’ve recently seen many questions regarding racial pride. Some of them are old chestnuts like “how come there isn’t a white history month”? or “how come they can have black pride and gay pride and Mexican pride but when white people say they’re proud, its racism”?
Yes, I have recently seen these banal, childish and uninformed questions all over Facebook and other social media. It makes me wonder if, after hearing these questions for at least 40 years, these people ever actually listen to the answer?
Racial pride is never, ever a good thing. It is usually the result of a particular racial group having felt put-upon, oppressed, or mistreated because of their race. There is no reason to wear your race on your shirtsleeve, as it were, unless in defiance of someone who would diminish you because of your race. Those who are in charge, or in the majority, or actually commit the oppression and mistreatment don’t usually need a reason to be proud of their race.
Now, there are many times when it is the oppressor who, due to the inherent weakness of character which causes him to oppress a less fortunate or less numerous group, reveals his weakness when he complains at the mere suggestion that those who he is oppressing are in fact being oppressed! The possibility of him being called out over his oppression causes him to become defensive of his position, and by doing so, points out what few advantages the oppressed group may have.
His fundamental message is: Just because we have ignored your contribution to this country, just because the south is filled with memorials to Civil War heroes and virtually none to the slaves they were fighting over doesn’t mean that you should have Black History Month. Just because there are hundreds of white supremacist groups claiming thousands of members all over the country doesn’t mean that you can have a 5-10 member Black Panther Party. Anything that you do to promote your group in reaction to our oppression will come under great scrutiny and we will likely use that opportunity to point out even the most miniscule of benefits you’ve derived, such as Affirmative Action, not as a result of our beneficence, but as a result of your resistance to our oppression.
Racism does not mean that you don’t like black people. Racism is simply the act of seeing things through the lens of race. Racism is seeing black people or white people or Asians people or Mexicans or anyone else in the context of their race or nationality before you see them as people. If they, the ones you’ve been oppressing for hundreds of years, try to show pride in who they are, it is because you have tried to demoralize them and diminish all of the inherent pride that people need. The fact that you have been able to do that proves that you are the one with the power, whether earned or not.
No, if you are the man, you don’t need “pride week”. You need to wonder why you’ve created the conditions where others who are not as powerful as you, do.