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Can we talk about pride in things that are chance?


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Someone recently told me that I should be proud to be white. This kind of thing has always puzzled me. I'm not *ashamed* to be white, but I can honestly say I'm not proud. I have no negative feelings about it. I just find hard to understand why id be proud of something that just happened to me.

 

It seems to be a fairly common sentiment in some circles. Please help me understand.

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Well, people take pride in various things they identify with all the time. Nothing wrong with it that I can see. Gay pride, black or other ethnic pride. St Patrick's Day brings out "Proud to be Irish"   Proud New Yorkers, proud Southerners, etc.

 

It isn't something I spend any mental energy on, but I see nothing at all wrong with it. To each their own. 

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What's so special about being white? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard. And kind of creepy.

Yes, I agree. I was born this way, doesn't make me special. It was awkward because I felt like saying I wasn't proud sounded like I was ashamed. Which I'm not.

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Perhaps you could share the region, or context?

 

Never hear it here....lots of third gen immigrants so the question is what country did your ancestor come from...with various reactions. First thing I learned was an answer of US was not acceptable!

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I'm guessing that the notion of "white pride" is a response to "black pride."  I have never heard anyone talk of white pride. 

 

But, it still doesn't make sense to me.  I can't help that I was born white.  I am half Polish, and I've seen "Proud to be Polish" t-shirts, but what the heck?   I'm neither proud nor ashamed to be Polish, I'd no choice to be Polish or not.   I don't understand being proud of something over which one has zero control.

 

I should say that I guess I can see how oppressed minorities might be encouraged to show pride in their... characteristics that make them an oppressed minority.  But it's still odd to me. 

Edited by marbel
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I think "proud to be Polish" could be ok in a certain context.  They have stuff like Polish American clubs where they have festivals with traditional foods.  That sort of thing.  Not a big deal to me and I wouldn't be worried about it.  But I do think white pride would come off as pretty negative so I'm not going to go there.  Not negative in the sense there is something wrong with being white, but uh given history and the issues with racism it just isn't so cool to be obnoxious about it.

 

 

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but being a woman, now that's kick @$$

 

:lol:

 

And herein lies the difference of these sentiments.  The underdog gets to be proud.  It's meant to help them rise up in a situation where they are often treated as second rate.  Not that I go around jumping up and down about being a woman, but women are often treated as second rate.  

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Someone actually SAID that?!

 

I try to avoid IRL conversations about unearned pride.  It isn't very wise for an American to advertise their lack of pride in being an American.  I'm *glad* for it most days, but I didn't put any effort into my parents' sex life or location.

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Not negative in the sense there is something wrong with being white, but uh given history and the issues with racism it just isn't so cool to be obnoxious about it.

'Whites' arent considered a group here. People sort by ethnicity and religion and place of origin if they want to refer to a culture...polish-american, italian-american, irish-american, korean-american, Hasidic, Haitians, west indian africans, Georgians (former residents of the state of Georgia who moved up after the war), Puerto Ricans etc.

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Racial and ethnic stuff aside, theres a lot of pride in stuff that is chance. A lot of people take pride in their appearance. I have been guilty at times of being proud of a thin but can eat anything frame, at times for my curly hair that people seem to love so much, and at times for my intellect (I can always find somebody who I am smarter than, right?). Sometimes pride for the family I was born into. None of these things have anything to do with something I did. It's something myself and all of us need to be aware of.  :(

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Well I wouldn't say I was proud to be white, but if they meant they were not ashamed to be white, then I could see that.  I guess it's similar to gay pride or black pride.  Accepting oneself, having a good self-esteem even though there are some people who think we should be ashamed or guilty or feel like we are born owing a debt.

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I've been in a group where I was looked down upon by foreign grad students who assumed that Americans are stupid.  I didn't ever say I was proud to be white, but it did put me in a position to feel the need to show that I had nothing to be ashamed of on account of my birth circumstances.

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Well I wouldn't say I was proud to be white, but if they meant they were not ashamed to be white, then I could see that. I guess it's similar to gay pride or black pride. Accepting oneself, having a good self-esteem even though there are some people who think we should be ashamed or guilty or feel like we are born owing a debt.

I've never encountered anyone who thought white people should be ashamed or that we were born guilty, although I've heard people talk about it.

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Speaking of the original idea and not having to do with race... sometimes the line can get blurry I think. For example good decisions and hard work are certainly not meaningless. At the same time, people are sometimes extremely proud of their income and success , patting themselves on the back and lecturing others about adopting their ways while they are blind to the fact that a constellation of circumstances and favorable traits have made it hard for them to fail. 

 

A body that tends towards thinness without much effort is another frustrating one for those who were not born that way. Sitting there judging people for being "fat" while they actually may eat worse. It's not fair. 

 

In my view of things there's little to nothing we can be proud of since it's all God's grace that we experience anything good. 

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I've never encountered anyone who thought white people should be ashamed or that we were born guilty, although I've heard people talk about it.

 

I have met people like this.  Feeling guilty for being born white, as if they had any control over it. 

 

(That is different from understanding white privilege and racial inequity.)

 

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Yes, I agree. I was born this way, doesn't make me special. It was awkward because I felt like saying I wasn't proud sounded like I was ashamed. Which I'm not.

 

The awkward thing was being stuck in a conversation with a proud racist. Don't feel awkward about your response . . .

 

You can feel awkward that someone would think you'd be receptive to such a bizarre comment, or you can feel awkward to be stuck in the same social circle as a lunatic, lol. Either way, after triple checking that I wasn't sending out "racists welcome here" vibes, then I'd just figure out how to avoid such a person in the future. 

 

How bizarre. I have no idea how I'd respond because I'd be so startled by such a comment. I'm sure you were, too. (I'm sure you aren't sending out "racists welcome here" vibes -- that was not meant as a serious query . . . I'm sure the commenter was just a lunatic. Lunatics are pretty common these days, lol.)

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I guess I don't understand why people think that is bizarre or creepy or obnoxious, unless they also feel the same way about gay pride / black pride / etc.  I mean apparently some people need to feel proud of the skin they're in.  Why would that be more or less "bizarre" depending on what color that skin happens to be?

Edited by SKL
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I don't get pride. Ethnicity, income, body type, education level...whatever it is that causes pride... I just don't get it.

 

I am who I am because God made me that way. I live everyday, and just hope that I use the talents He gave me for His glory. As someone wisely said around here so etime... I bring Him my 5 loaves and 2 fish, and hopefully somehow He will distribute it how He sees it fit.

 

I'm not ashamed to be who I am. I am thankful, but not prideful.

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I guess I don't understand why people think that is bizarre or creepy or obnoxious, unless they also feel the same way about gay pride / black pride / etc.  I mean apparently some people need to feel proud of the skin they're in.  Why would that be more or less "bizarre" depending on what color that skin happens to be?

 

 

And herein lies the difference of these sentiments.  The underdog gets to be proud.  It's meant to help them rise up in a situation where they are often treated as second rate.  Not that I go around jumping up and down about being a woman, but women are often treated as second rate.  

 

 

Sparkly answered nicely...

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Well I guess I'm a logical person.  (Not saying I'm proud of that.  :P)  It makes no sense to say that something is wrong unless you're "the underdog."  And in the USA, basically that means if you're anything except white (or a white male) you should be proud of that.  Everyone should be proud they aren't white basically.  But that's not saying anything negative about being white.  ???

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I was thinking about this last night.  I'm happy/proud/feel very lucky for a lot of things that have been handed to me.

 

And I'm from the south, so I have definitely heard, "I'm proud of my mama's good biscuits" used in a way that just denotes a large amount of happiness.  

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Ugh. I've seen this sentiment in response to "Black pride" sorts of sentiments. The problem is that no one was ever telling white people to be ashamed of being white (and before we go there, recognizing your privilege is not being ashamed) but people were telling blacks to be ashamed of their race. Thus the attempt to reset and reclaim.

 

As a concept in general... I the place it bugs me often is parents who are convinced that the way they parented led to some aspect of their child's personality and if only we all did it their way, our kids would also be similarly blessed with math smarts or politeness or a sunny disposition or something. And it's not that I don't think parenting helps with that stuff, but oy... there's a lot of chance involved too and some parents have a total lack of awareness of that.

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I, myself, have said that I'm proud of my Scots-Irish heritage.  There were a group of people that overcame a lot to cross the ocean, for reasons that have probably become very white-washed over the years, but in general, for religious freedom and a better (financial) life for their children.  Those are good character traits, and I'm proud that those people are part of my heritage.  

 

We show Scots-Irish pride by retelling stories to our children, listening to the music of generations before us, going to museums and rejoicing in the history and stories, going to festivals, etc.  So I can see some pride in our heritage.  

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Well I guess I'm a logical person.  (Not saying I'm proud of that.  :p)  It makes no sense to say that something is wrong unless you're "the underdog."  And in the USA, basically that means if you're anything except white (or a white male) you should be proud of that.  Everyone should be proud they aren't white basically.  But that's not saying anything negative about being white.  ???

 

What is there to be proud of about being white? Should I be proud of my blue eyes? Should I be proud of my kids' blonde hair? Should I be proud that we are slim (with moderate to no effort; everyone in our genetic lineage is similarly slim)? That we are straight? Should I be proud that we have more money than most, even given that we were born into privilege (white, upper middle class, well educated families, high IQs and great schooling)? 

 

I'm not proud that I got a 4 year college degree. That was a basic expectation for me, in my family, with the privileges I was born into that made that achievement quite easy for me. If I'd been born poor to a family with little education and received little support, and maybe even struggled with poor schooling, poor parenting, and few helps along the way, then that 4 year degree would surely be something to be very proud of. 

 

It's the relative effort and achievement that results in appropriate pride. 

 

White people, as a class, have it relatively easy. People of color, not so much. 

 

This is the same with poverty. Wealthy people have it relatively easy. Poor people, not so much. However, in this case, poverty IS something that can be overcome with individual or community effort. People can go from being poor to being wealthy. This isn't the case with color, sexuality, gender, etc. Those things are (relatively) immutable and are ongoing handicaps in our society. Thus, we don't talk about "poor pride" because poverty is something you can possibly/probably get out of with effort, whereas no amount of effort (not counting the extreme examples of surgery, etc) changes your race, gender, sexuality . . .  

 

I think pride should be about what we accomplish. For the underdogs, there is an element of "black pride", etc because, in my rough guess, as a black person in America, you are born with a handicap given the institutional, historical, and personal biases that are all there making your way in life harder. You have to be better, smarter, stronger to achieve things in America as a black person (or a Latino person, or a gay person, etc.) because of these challenges you faced, due to no fault of your own. Also, you have an ethnic/racial heritage of ancestors who have struggled (even more) against these odds, so having pride in your race reflects pride in that heritage of struggle, progress, and survival of your predecessors. 

 

Also, taking pride in your underprivileged minority group is something of a psychological/social ploy/trick of assuming a positive spin on something that has been used as a slur and has been a handicap. Some parts of gay movement have adopted "queer" as a positive title. Some blacks use the n word as a term of endearment. Etc. These are psychological/social attempts to take away the negative power of the terms that have been used to hold them down. 

 

So, unless you're living in a world where you perceive your whiteness to be a handicap or a slur, then White Pride is not remotely comparable to the other "prides".

 

I'm sure others could word this logic much better than I can, but I think that's the general idea. 

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Been thinking about this since I posted.  I do understand where Sparkly's point about it being part of being the underdog.

 

Well I guess I'm a logical person.  (Not saying I'm proud of that.  :p)  It makes no sense to say that something is wrong unless you're "the underdog."  And in the USA, basically that means if you're anything except white (or a white male) you should be proud of that.  Everyone should be proud they aren't white basically.  But that's not saying anything negative about being white.  ???

 

No, I don't think things like black pride are saying anything negative about being white.  I mean, accomplishments of white people are applauded all the time.  Pretty much all the history books are from the perspective of the white people in the story.  There's no *need* to be touting the positives about being white.  It's obvious.  Black pride doesn't diminish anything about being white.  Pride in being a woman (which I'm not, but I think I understand) doesn't diminish men.  

 

I do find myself rolling my eyes inside during all the ethnic festivals (there are lots of them around here) where everyone talks about how proud they are. 

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Oh, and another note.

 

My mother was born poor, female, and to a mom who was divorced (scandal!) while Mom was still a baby. No one in Mom's family had ever gotten a college degree (that we know of). Mom suffered abuse at the hands of her mom's boyfriend(s) over the years. Mom's mom remarried an abusive 2nd husband when Mom was a teen . . .

 

Mom got a 4 year degree on her own via merit scholarships and hard work, went to the Peace Corps in the first class of Chile volunteers, got a Masters at an Ivy League school, and later a law degree (while she had school age kids at home and despite my dad divorcing her during her first year). She achieved a great career, was a stellar mom, contributed to her community, and rescued both her mother and baby sister out of an abusive and hopeless future. 

 

I am PROUD of Mom. She achieved great things against great odds. She also reset the family expectations so that me and my brother achieving a 4 year degree + grad degrees was a norm, not a big achievement. We had it easy; she did not. We (my brother and I) both have things to be proud of, but they are things we did that required great effort, not the basic educational process we completed with plenty of support and easy odds. The things we have to be proud of are the differences we make in other's lives, the hard work and dedication we have put into various achievements/efforts . . . The things we actually had to struggle to achieve (or survive). Whiteness has never been a handicap for us and is nothing we have achieved, so it is not something to be proud of. 

Edited by StephanieZ
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Been thinking about this since I posted.  I do understand where Sparkly's point about it being part of being the underdog.

 

 

No, I don't think things like black pride are saying anything negative about being white.  I mean, accomplishments of white people are applauded all the time.  Pretty much all the history books are from the perspective of the white people in the story.  There's no *need* to be touting the positives about being white.  It's obvious.  Black pride doesn't diminish anything about being white.  Pride in being a woman (which I'm not, but I think I understand) doesn't diminish men.  

 

I do find myself rolling my eyes inside during all the ethnic festivals (there are lots of them around here) where everyone talks about how proud they are. 

 

Well either there is something to be proud of in your skin color, or there isn't.  I'm not the one saying there is.  I'm saying it isn't obnoxious for one group if it isn't obnoxious for the other groups.  If someone wants to be proud of their skin, who cares really?  I agree that it's not a knock on whites to say black pride, but then how is it a knock on blacks to say one is proud to be white?

 

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Well either there is something to be proud of in your skin color, or there isn't.  I'm not the one saying there is.  I'm saying it isn't obnoxious for one group if it isn't obnoxious for the other groups.  If someone wants to be proud of their skin, who cares really?  I agree that it's not a knock on whites to say black pride, but then how is it a knock on blacks to say one is proud to be white?

 

 

I don't know that it is.  I think it's more an unnecessary slap in the face.  That's how it feels to me.  People having black pride are responding to all the subconscious messages about how being white is so great.  It makes sense that they'd counter that with telling people that black people are pretty great, too. 

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So if being proud implies a disadvantage, maybe it's not so great to push "pride" on groups who want to catch up and excel.  Is it good to tell a young black child that he should be proud to be doing well despite not really being as capable to start out?  Because that's basically what is being said here.  Just some food for thought.

 

And again, I'm not the person going around saying pride.  I just reject the illogical arguments I'm seeing here.  And really, I don't see why it matters to us who is proud of what.

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I don't know that it is.  I think it's more an unnecessary slap in the face.  That's how it feels to me.  People having black pride are responding to all the subconscious messages about how being white is so great.  It makes sense that they'd counter that with telling people that black people are pretty great, too. 

 

Well again, the context in which this was said matters.  I don't know the context in order to judge whether it was a "slap in the face."

 

FTR I often say I am proud of my white hairs.  Perhaps I am insulting someone somewhere ....

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Well again, the context in which this was said matters.  I don't know the context in order to judge whether it was a "slap in the face."

 

FTR I often say I am proud of my white hairs.  Perhaps I am insulting someone somewhere ....

 

In order to show the full context it would get very political, so I can't.  I'll try to sum-up.  I'm only using 2 people to avoid more confusion.

 

Person A: Rah-rah, guns

Person B: You're lucky you're white

Person A: I'm proud to be white. And you should, too!  

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Well I guess I'm a logical person.  (Not saying I'm proud of that.  :p)  It makes no sense to say that something is wrong unless you're "the underdog."  And in the USA, basically that means if you're anything except white (or a white male) you should be proud of that.  Everyone should be proud they aren't white basically.  But that's not saying anything negative about being white.  ???

 

I think there's pride in having the courage to live as an openly gay person, and that there's pride in remembering and honoring one's culture in a society that tries to stomp it out.

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Well, people take pride in various things they identify with all the time. Nothing wrong with it that I can see. Gay pride, black or other ethnic pride. St Patrick's Day brings out "Proud to be Irish"   Proud New Yorkers, proud Southerners, etc.

 

It isn't something I spend any mental energy on, but I see nothing at all wrong with it. To each their own. 

 

I think it's illogical, and problematic. It reinforces an us-vs-them mentality. I've been to a gay pride parade, but I really wish they'd picked a different word than pride.

 

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Not that I believe in 'sin', per se (I don't believe in god(s)), but the same principle still holds without having to refer to supernatural beings:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Pride

Edited by luuknam
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Having lived in a small town where skinhead/wannabe klan types who loved to talk white pride targeted my interracial family, I'll admit that when people talk about their white pride, I back away slowly. I am white. I've also seen my home vandalized, heard threats on the phone and lived through my black brother's dog being kidnapped and only returned after these idiots beat him to the point we had to put him to sleep to save him a life of agony. It can't be difficult to see why that phrasing would spark a reaction in me after hearing it yelled and used as justification for intimidation and violence. My parents packed us up and moved from the only home they ever bought rather than rented because it was too dangerous to stay.

 

There are two sorts of people who have proclaimed white pride to me: those who are most definitely of the same ilk as my old "neighbors" and those who don't understand on a fundamental level why white pride is a loaded term and one which is odd for people who aren't white supremacists to use. I find the first group repugnant and immoral. I find the second unfeeling and willfully ignoring the painful history and present day reality of racism.

 

And that is quite literally all I have to say here on the matter.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Well I wouldn't say I was proud to be white, but if they meant they were not ashamed to be white, then I could see that.  I guess it's similar to gay pride or black pride.  Accepting oneself, having a good self-esteem even though there are some people who think we should be ashamed or guilty or feel like we are born owing a debt.

 

Right. Different groups get different definitions of pride.

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So if being proud implies a disadvantage, maybe it's not so great to push "pride" on groups who want to catch up and excel.  Is it good to tell a young black child that he should be proud to be doing well despite not really being as capable to start out?  Because that's basically what is being said here.  Just some food for thought.

 

And again, I'm not the person going around saying pride.  I just reject the illogical arguments I'm seeing here.  And really, I don't see why it matters to us who is proud of what.

 

I don't quite understand your argument.  Are you saying it's not ok to give disadvantaged groups and people a boost of any kind?  My understanding of being fair to people isn't to treat them all the same because we don't actually all start from the same place.  So being fair does sometimes mean treating people differently including giving them a boost.  Not sure how much of a boost pride actually has, but that's another discussion. 

 

 

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As part of white privilege, we have the privilege to be "proud" of our heritage in most instances, whether its Scots, French, German, etc -- most of us have at least a small idea of where our families came from. Many African Americans do not have this luxury, since many of their ancestors were uprooted and no records can be found. There is no "Kenyan pride" etc heritage to fall back on. Thus, there is "Black Pride," which is more akin to a cultural or heritage pride. THAT is the difference. White pride = racist because it is designed to lift one skin color above another. The correct comparison  to Black Pride is "insert your heritage" Pride.

Edited by Joshin
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And there is pride like "go team" which has an attitude of fun and isn't too serious and then there is "we are superior to all others". 

 

I guess I don't see white people as a team.  Do I see black people as a team?  Not exactly, but if they need a boost due to being treated categorically unfairly then I think it is fair.  Why do we give extra consideration and boosts to girls in some circumstances?  For a similar reason. 

 

 

 

 

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Having lived in a small town where skinhead/wannabe klan types who loved to talk white pride targeted my interracial family, I'll admit that when people talk about their white pride, I back away slowly. I am white. I've also seen my home vandalized, heard threats on the phone and lived through my black brother's dog being kidnapped and only returned after these idiots beat him to the point we had to put him to sleep to save him a life of agony. It can't be difficult to see why that phrasing would spark a reaction in me after hearing it yelled and used as justification for intimidation and violence. My parents packed us up and moved from the only home they ever bought rather than rented because it was too dangerous to stay.

 

There are two sorts of people who have proclaimed white pride to me: those who are most definitely of the same ilk as my old "neighbors" and those who don't understand on a fundamental level why white pride is a loaded term and one which is odd for people who aren't white supremacists to use. I find the first group repugnant and immoral. I find the second unfeeling and willfully ignoring the painful history and present day reality of racism.

 

And that is quite literally all I have to say here on the matter.

 

This. And, wow, Katie, I don't have words for what was done to your family. I'm so sorry.  :mad:

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White pride = racist because it is designed to lift one skin color above another. The correct comparison  to Black Pride is "insert your heritage" Pride.

 

Well I don't know that "white pride" is designed to lift one skin color above another.  Maybe it's just an attempt to participate in the "pride" discussion on an equal basis with all the other groups who are "proud."

 

It seems to me that the person who said the words is the person who should explain the meaning / intention.

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I don't quite understand your argument.  Are you saying it's not ok to give disadvantaged groups and people a boost of any kind?  My understanding of being fair to people isn't to treat them all the same because we don't actually all start from the same place.  So being fair does sometimes mean treating people differently including giving them a boost.  Not sure how much of a boost pride actually has, but that's another discussion. 

 

No, I'm saying imagine you telling your son, "you should be proud of finishing the 4th grade considering how unsuccessful your family is otherwise."  The idea of being "proud" may seem uplifting, but "considering your skin color is a big disadvantage" seems counterproductive, especially for young kids who have not actually experienced the historical struggles and may, hopefully, be spared from at least some of them.

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