On privilege and pride

On privilege and pride September 28, 2016

Let’s think about the concept of “pride,” shall we?

If you’re white, the notion of having pride in one’s race/ethnicity is a big no-no.  “White Pride” is the province of the KKK and neo-Nazis, after all.

If you’re a POC, of whatever C, not only is ethnic/racial pride A-OK, but, we’re told, it’s pretty much a necessity.  No, I’m not going to dig up links, but you know as well as I do that they’re out there:  the idea that, for a COC (child of color) to do well, it’s necessary, not just to be neutral, rather than embarrassed about one’s ethnic heritage/cultural background/race, but to take pride in it.

So what happens?  Black Pride, Hispanic Pride, Asian Pride, etc.  And celebrations of culture ranging from African drums to Mexican folk dance to Chinese New Year.

And what about whites?

They are told to “check their privilege.”  In the university setting, at least, told that to be white means to be a perpetrator, obliged as penance to defer to the minorities in their midst.  To constantly be sure they aren’t saying or doing anything racist, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  And there’s a minefield of “cultural appropriation” on the one hand and “cultural imperialism” on the other.

Here’s an odd little bit from The Daily Beast, about Trump and the question of whether or not he is a racist:

What Trump will never admit is that he likes being white. That he knows the opportunities afforded to him as the white son of a wealthy construction contractor—after Clinton noted he started off in business with a $14 million gift from his father, he protested, “my father gave me a very small loan”—are not open to the black and brown children living in poor neighborhoods in Baltimore, Chicago, or Atlanta. He knows that race and wealth matter, that his own path would have been harder, even with such a huge loan, if he had been black. Trump may not recognize his own bigotry, but he knows he would never trade places with my brothers.

Do you “like being white”/or “like being [whatever race/ethnicity you are]”?  Does it make you a bigot, or merely someone comfortable in their own skin?

What is a POP (that’s Person of Pallor, for those not up on their ironic, anti-PC terminology) to do?

Some whites have decided to “create” a culture/ethnicity for themselves using the Confederate flag, the Dukes of Hazard General Lee, and the like.  Clearly that’s not the right path forward, but you can understand the impulse, can’t you? — the desire to claim an “identity” for themselves, and to “belong to a group” in a way that, we’re told in the context of ethnic minorities at least, is a human need.

Can this impulse be steered into a better alternative?  And if so, what would it look like?

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