Yesterday, scott467 posted “I will never, EVER feel ‘guilty’ or ‘uncomfortable about things I didn’t do — because that would be insane.”
That post got me thinking about the flip side of that coin (or perhaps it’s a die) which was pride, specifically in your particular race.
I ran into a practical, easily understood post on that topic, which follows:
Being Proud of Your Race Doesn’t Make Sense
I was about 10 years old when the idea of race affected me and my fellow peers. Most kids recite the beliefs of their parents at this age, saying things like “I’m proud to be black,” “I’m proud to be white,” “I’m proud to be Hispanic.” It seemed to make sense, why wouldn’t you be proud of something you are? You’re supposed to own yourself and embrace what you are, or at least that’s what everyone says you should do.
But I was riding in the car one day with my Dad and somehow, the subject of race came up. I told my Dad, “I’m proud to be white.” He looked at me sternly and said, “why?” I was surprised to hear this response; I figured this was just something you were supposed to embrace. Regardless, being the egotist that all kids are, I demanded to be right. I think I tried defending myself along the lines of, “White people have done great things, and it’s who I am. You should be proud too!”
“But son, why are you proud of something you did nothing to achieve? You’re not proud of having two arms, you’re not proud that you have blue eyes, why are you proud of being white? Literally, the only thing you had to achieve was birth, and you didn’t have a choice in that matter. You can only be proud of the things that you have worked to achieve.”
I remember this not making sense as a kid. Not because what he was saying didn’t make sense, but how could all of these people, even adults, be wrong? Seemingly everyone was proud of their heritage, and in school, we read book after book which advocated this belief of honoring your heritage. But it all makes sense now; large groups of people can (and often are), very egotistical.
The general excuse for racial pride is that you can, and should, be proud of your ancestors achievements. But just think about how disingenuous it is to expect credit for the achievements of others. You’re taking your ancestor’s success, or lack thereof, and passing it off as your own in aim of recognition. This is a problem. People want to be respected because they were born a certain way, not because they’re actually respectable. What you’re subtly saying is that you have a high opinion of yourself, or even believe yourself superior in some way, just because of your genetic traits. That’s literally what pride means, a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit,or superiority.
This is the major problem with identity politics. It becomes harder and harder to judge people as individuals, with their own individual circumstances. People want to claim superiority or merit simply because they belong to a specific group, and more specifically, a group they did nothing to become a part of. This can only help to perpetuate racism.
What was posted above certainly is not to say that you shouldn’t be interested in your culture or heritage, or participate in your cultural activities, feel a sense of belonging in your cultural community or thoroughly enjoy all your cultural food. (Well, all except for ludefisk, that is). But we must remember that words mean things; we should not mix up the feelings of belonging with the feeling of pride. Belonging generates feelings of family. Pride demands recognition and superiority.
Now, to wander into a little deeper water here –
If your racial heritage can give you feelings of pride, probably based on your perception of the positive accomplishments or history of your race, then it stands to reason that your racial heritage can give you feelings of regret or even shame based on your perception of the negative events or history of your race. From feelings of regret and shame, it’s only a short hop over to GUILT.
In my mind, the positive associations are just as irrational as the negative associations and both should be assiduously avoided. You can neither take credit nor be assigned blame.
From a Biblical perspective, God’s Word is clear: pride opposes God.
When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:12
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverse mouth I hate. Proverbs 8:13
A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor. Proverbs 29:23
Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility. Proverbs 18:12
As a last thought . . . guIlt.
Some Christians seem to be consumed by guilt:
They weren’t worthy of being chosen by God (Of course not . . . none of us are).
They didn’t merit having their many sins forgiven (Of course not . . . none of us did).
Their thoughts, words and deeds wander toward sin (Of course . . . all of ours do).
They are progressing too slowly in the Christian life (Of course . . . all of us are).
Pride and guilt have one major thing in common . . . that big “I” in the middle. As a Christian, I don’t believe my focus should be on how I feel about the happenings in life . . . how they impact ME.
We’ve been given two most important commands: Love God and love your neighbor. I don’t see a third command slipped in there about thinking of, talking about or doing things that build up SELF. In fact, we are to die to self and follow Christ.
If our focus is on loving God and our neighbor, SELF can take care of itself.