It’s Pride Week and unsurprisingly myself and others will be finding themselves thinking about pride. For myself when the concept of pride is brought up there are two primary examples that ultimately are on two opposite ends of the oppression spectrum (or at least pretty close) there’s gay pride (which is used often as the all encompassing term for LGBT pride in general) and white pride.
While proponents and believers in white pride would probably disagree, the origins of pride over one’s whiteness does not arise from the same conditions that pride over one’s sexual orientation or sexual identity that is not heteronormative. Yet the same basic emotional core remains in that the pride talked about isn’t the same pride as, for example, one feels when completing a difficult and rewarding task but rather it’s pride (essentially strong self-affirming emotion towards one self) over who one is based on in our two examples. one’s sexual identity and one’s ethnicity.
Many, myself included, find it quite silly to be proud of something you have no control over, nationalism is an extension of this, and that to be proud of one’s skin color or sexual identity is much like me being proud that I have two arms (I was born with them and due to a long genetic history, in no way was it something special pulled off by me). Yet there is still a massive difference between LGBT pride and white pride and that’s whether the real source of this pride is authentic. In other words, pride over these two things is reactionary. In the first instance the reaction is to strong prejudice and oppression, by an oppressed person being proud of the very thing they are oppressed for they undo the shame that is systematically imposed on them. White pride advocates certainly would claim that these conditions apply to them as well, but there is no need to examine this line of thinking as it has been picked apart by plenty of very qualified people (see also the examination of “Men’s Rights” advocates).
Ideally, Pride Week wouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately because of oppression it will be necessary for a very long time. So next time you talk to one of those lame straight people who say “I have no problem with gay people, but Pride is just too much…” kindly explain to them that just by saying that Pride is going to have to continue along, and go even harder.
[As an aside: In Dan Savage’s new book “American Savage” he makes a compelling case for a “Straight Pride” night which is ultimately Halloween. I would argue that what he describes is not actually straight pride, but rather sexual pride in general. Being proud of one’s heterosexuality seems quite silly, but in our contemporary Western culture being proud of one’s promiscuity, active sexual life, etc is not (see also Slut Walk).