The Dangers of Unearned Pride
I am a White, straight, Southern-born, Male American, and I don’t feel any particular ‘pride’ over those chances of fate and birth. I’m thankful for some of them, but I see no special reason to feel pride.
Please bear with me a bit before dismissing what I say as treasonous or disloyal to any number of causes, and please don’t reduce yourself to name-calling.
I had absolutely no part in, or control over who my parents were, where they were from, where I was born or my race.
Why should I feel pride over ‘circumstances’ that were completely beyond my control or even vague influence?
I can easily see how a gay person could feel pride when they ‘come out.’ That pride, however, should come from the courage it took to risk the consequences of their honesty rather than their gayness, which is, according to them, just ‘how they are.’
I’m not picking on the Gay community either, this is just one example.
I’m White, big deal, and you’re Black, Mexican, Southern, Greek or whatever. We had no choice in these facts. why should we be proud?
When one of us overcomes an obstacle, reaches a goal or succeeds despite the odds and circumstances, then we have every right to feel pride in ourselves and what we have done.
We can and should feel pride over our accomplishments, the lessons we learn and the positive influence that we exert over others.
Don’t think that I’m not pleased with the [what I consider] more fortunate circumstances of my birth and childhood, despite some accompanying misfortunes.
Damned right I’m glad to be a White American Male in the 21st Century, but pride in what you have done and who you have become trumps pride over any accident of fate.
Being an American gives me an advantage over those from most other countries. And as politically incorrect as it may seem, being born into a (mostly) Caucasian family probably did remove some obstacles to my success, but it also presented me with others
When a person overcomes physical handicaps, language barriers, race, gender bias and bigotry, and succeeds in spite of all [apparent] odds, they have every right and to feel and proclaim pride in themselves and their accomplishments.
If I have benefited in any way from being a White American Male I can be thankful, but certainly not proud.
A single, poor parent in the inner city has every right to feel proud of his or her accomplishment when they raise a child who escapes ‘the hood’ and goes on to success.
That child also has good reason to feel pride in their accomplishments because these were something that they did and not something that was done to, or for them. They succeeded in spite of their obstacles, and deserve respect and their well earned pride.
Race, poverty, language, nationality, abuse or handicap may have been obstacles in their path, but these, in and of themselves are not a source of pride, they are merely circumstances.
Legally naturalized Americans studied the Constitution, learned the language, followed the law and swore an oath to The Constitution. They have every right to “American Pride,” because it was something they chose, worked for and accomplished. They didn’t ‘just happen’ to have the statistical and genetic good fortune of being born here.
Everyone should appreciate, maintain and celebrate their history, heritage and experience. You are who makes up America. St. Patty’s Day to Chinese New Year, Adam’s Morgan and Little Italy to Bourbon Street, Spanish Harlem, Amish country, Indian territory, Appalachia, and every interesting and diverse cultural pocket and event in between – it’s all part of America. Everyone should learn about, celebrate and remember their heritage and learn to understand and appreciate that of others.
Genuine “American Pride,” however, belongs to those who work to continue and improve “The American Heritage” for everyone.
Veterans can rightfully be proud of a nation that they helped to shape and keep free. Firefighters can be proud when they do their everyday unsung hero thing. Don’t feel proud because your Mother / Father was a veteran, cop, firefighter, teacher, union president, Governor or the first in the family to graduate from high school. Be proud because you are.
And even if you’re not ‘proud’ to be an American, you should still be damned glad you are. You have many opportunities to succeed, and many more to make it a better place,
When you do, you can know genuine pride because you took advantage of these unique opportunities to build a life and became a truly proud American.
So how about forgetting about White, Latino, Black, Gay, Southern or even pride in being an American for a while and ask yourself:
“Am I proud of something I have accomplished, or am I falsely proud of something over which I had absolutely no input or control?”
That’s my opinion, but what do I know, I’m just a conflict weary old ex-spy.
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