7-15-20 Midweek Musings

Yesterday, scott467 posted “I will never, EVER feel ‘guilty’ or ‘uncomfortable about things I didn’t do — because that would be insane.”

https://wqth.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/dear-kag-20200714-not-so-silent-culture-war-open-thread/comment-page-1/#comment-547752

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

*https://mystudentvoices.com/being-proud-of-your-race-doesnt-make-sense-ecd88cf2bf2c

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.


6 thoughts on “7-15-20 Midweek Musings

  1. Thank you for a very interesting article, Carl.

    I was going to break up my reply into separate posts, but I was enjoying the ‘discussion’ so much that I replied to most of it (conversationally, I hope), which would result in a lot of posts.

    So I left it as one long post, and tried to separate each reply as I usually do.

    .

    “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.”

    ______________

    The first thing I thought of was the song “I’m Proud to be an American”.

    The only thing I had to achieve (in order to be ‘proud’ to be an American) was being born here, and I didn’t have a choice in the matter. If I can only be proud of things I have worked to achieve, how then can I be proud to be an American?

    Should I be, or shouldn’t I be?

    .

    “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.”

    _____________

    I have found that not just ‘even adults’, but especially adults, were wrong about (seemingly) everything, almost to the point of parody, like growing up was some kind of tragic comedy 😂

    It begins with Santa Claus mostly, I suspect, at least for many children. Santa is some Grandpa-like figure who flies in a sleigh all over the world, breaking into homes — through a chimney, of all entrances — giving out gifts once day a year, coinciding with the (supposed) birth of Jesus.

    This is so subversive it’s OFF the CHARTS! 😂

    Not the gift-giving or the spirit in which it is presumably intended, but the effect it has on the child when the lie is inevitably uncovered.

    Because one day, you discover that every adult in your life has been lying to you about the most exciting event on the most exciting day of the year — and they’ve all been lying to you about it, joyfully, for as long as you can remember.

    Talk about a wake-up call no child could possibly be prepared for… and if everyone was lying to you about that, then what else have they been lying to you about?!?

    How can you ever trust any of these people in your family again?

    If they were lying about Santa who delivers gifts on Jesus’ birthday… were they lying about Jesus too?!?

    And there is the subversive element.

    Because when a child finds out everyone has lied to him or her about Santa, who flies through the sky on Jesus’ (supposed but not actual) birthday, how can they not question whether they’ve been lied to about Jesus, who lives in the sky (from a young child’s perspective or understanding)?

    And it only gets worse from there… wait until they tell you it’s not who you know, it’s what you know… or that hard work guarantees success… and we haven’t even scratched the tip of the Hindenburg yet 😂😂😂

    .

    “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.”

    __________

    What does taking any kind of credit have to do with being proud of one’s ancestors’ achievements?

    I’m not sure the connection has ever even occurred to me.

    It seems like more of an ‘identity’ thing. As Americans, we ‘identify’ with America, with the good things which America stands (or stood and hopefully stands again) for.

    It is also a very natural thing to ‘identify’ with other people, on a whole host of things, including shared philosophy, religion, experience (especially traumatic experience). The most obvious aspect of identity, of course, is physical, what we see with our eyes. Male or female, and race.

    And at some level, this is a survival instinct. ‘Other’ can be dangerous, and always has been. If anyone believes in evolution, the guy who tried to pet the Lion didn’t procreate, while the guy who recognized the danger of ‘other’ and (successfully) ran away from the Lion, did 😂

    There is a natural ‘comfort’ in sameness, and at the most basic or obvious level, ‘sameness’ is inherently expressed in ‘race’. Instantly. It’s neither bad nor good, neither moral or immoral, it just ‘is’.

    We can overcome it, we can learn to discount it, in order to learn and appreciate the inner person more than the outer regardless of race, and all the cliches that go with that concept make the point very well (e.g., beauty is only skin deep), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a very natural part (or starting point) of being human.

    .

    “You’re taking your ancestor’s success, or lack thereof, and passing it off as your own in aim of recognition.”

    ___________

    What if you are not looking for any recognition, what if it is an entirely natural thing for a human being to belong to a tribe, and therefore to identify with that tribe, to know and understand that you came from somewhere, and that one particular tribe is the one from which you come?

    How can that be wrong?

    I’m not saying it can’t be, I’m just asking questions, because it’s my way 😁

    .

    “This is a problem. People want to be respected because they were born a certain way, not because they’re actually respectable.”

    __________

    What if that never occurred to someone, if it was not even a factor or part of the equation?

    What if things like ‘respect’ and ‘reputation’ are overrated?

    I remember our preacher gave a sermon on gossip once, and how someone’s reputation, built over a lifetime, could be ruined by a wagging tongue.

    That made no sense to me at all.

    In fact, if my reputation is dependent on what someone else does (or doesn’t do), then what’s the point of even trying to establish a good ‘reputation’ at all?

    Because people are going to lie and gossip, it’s part of the human condition, and it happens to everyone.

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the message the preacher was trying to get across 😂

    But then I wondered why ‘reputation’ was so important?

    What benefits and privileges does ‘reputation’ confer, and why, and is that even a good thing?

    Should we ‘trust’ the person with a ‘good’ reputation, simply because his ‘reputation’ is ‘good’?

    Or should we ‘trust but verify’?

    Remember all the people who lied to you about Santa Claus… 😂😂😂

    If we should ‘verify’, then what does ‘reputation’ have to do with anything? I mean in the ‘good’ sense of the word ‘reputation’. Obviously a ‘bad’ reputation can be harmful, but should a ‘good’ reputation confer special benefits or privileges?

    And is that something a Christian ought to seek?

    And if so, could ‘maintaining’ a good ‘reputation’ not also become a snare?

    Just imagine all the misdeeds that have been done, in order to cover up, to preserve a ‘reputation’…

    The reason (I think) it’s a potential problem is because ‘Truth’ is more important than ‘reputation’ (or ‘respect’, which I have been using somewhat synonymously with ‘reputation’ for purposes of this point).

    For example, I don’t want anyone to take my ‘word’ for anything important enough to have a spirited debate over.

    My ‘reputation’ (whatever it may be) should have nothing to do with the truth under consideration. It is the ‘truth’ that matters, and the objective of the ‘argument’ (debate) is to flush out (prove) the ‘truth’, whatever it may be.

    So why would someone who values ‘truth’ ever rely on ‘reputation’ (appeal to authority?) to convince or persuade?

    .

    “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.”

    ____________

    What if life has shown you that you are not superior to anyone, certainly not with regard to one’s ‘value’ as a human being?

    Can one ever truly ignore his physical identity, i.e., his race?

    Can one ignore whether one is male or female?

    What did I do to achieve being born a male? Nothing at all, the exact same nothing I did to achieve being born a particular race (or in a particular country). But being ‘male’ is most certainly a part of my identity. How could it not be?

    .

    “This is the major problem with identity politics. It becomes harder and harder to judge people as individuals, with their own individual circumstances.”

    ___________

    Ah ha, this may be what I’ve been looking for. Politics has an objective. It may be to change something (usually Leftists), or it may be to preserve something (usually conservatives or traditionalists or patriots), but ‘politics’ serves a purpose, it is a means to a desired outcome.

    Could it be that tying one’s identity to ‘politics’ is where things run amuck, rather than ‘identity’ itself being the problem?

    .

    “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 if the only time it ever even occurs to think this way is in self-defense, when you’ve been pestered and provoked endlessly, by someone who won’t stop attempting to make their race the central issue of the universe, and actively hating your race in every way imaginable?

    I have experienced that for sure.

    When someone attempts to shame me, and hate me, and nullify and negate me as a human being, because I am white, because that person is clearly and unambiguously and proudly racist against white people, there comes a point where the temptation to call their bluff, as a matter of self-defense, is overwhelming.

    And, I think I could argue, not unrighteously.

    .

    “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.”

    _________

    Unless you’re white, in which case every democrat (hypocrite) feels emboldened to call you a racist 😂

    .

    “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.”

    _________

    I think I have been using ‘identity’ and ‘belonging’ almost synonymously. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, it just occurred to me when I read the sentence above.

    .

    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,”

    _________

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a white person like that, at least I can’t remember anyone like that. But if someone won’t stop going on about how horrible white people are, and endlessly trying to negate me as a human being because I’m white, it’s very nice to be able to lay your cards on the table — not with pride, but with facts, out of self-defense — and say here is what the race I was born into, the race that you vehemently hate, has achieved. What has yours achieved?

    I like it, not because I deserve any credit or share any accomplishment for achievements by other people who were/are the same race as me — but because it wins/ends the argument.

    It shuts them up.

    .

    “…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.”

    ___________

    I see what you’re saying, but I never made the connection between ‘pride’ and ‘race’, versus ‘identity’ and ‘race’, which appears to be undeniable and natural and part of being human.

    And if the element of ‘pride’ is not present in that regard, or at least not significant, then doesn’t that effectively counter the assumption of the opposite (or contingent?) side of the proposed coin, i.e., ‘regret’ ?

    I have thought about it some more, and I don’t perceive any thoughts of regret or shame or guilt, either about being white, or about things which I did not do.

    Suppose it was a court of law. I could not rightfully be convicted of a crime that was committed by someone else, could I? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but it could not happen rightfully, i.e., it would be unjust.

    Even more, it would be a grave and severe injustice. So much so, that we have the Maxim that it is ‘Better to let a hundred guilty men go free, than that one innocent man should suffer‘, or words to that effect. Some quotes say “ten” instead of “one hundred”. Some attribute the sentiment to Benjamin Franklin (citing Voltaire), and a quick check also connects the expression to English jurist William Blackstone, and probably others. https://www.bartleby.com/73/953.html

    If it would be such a grave injustice to convict an innocent man for the deeds of another, is it not equally unjust to experience ‘regret’ or ‘shame’ for the deeds of another, resulting in any feeling of ‘guilt’ for the deeds of another?

    .

    “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.”

    ___________

    I understand and largely agree with the sentiment, but as a practical matter, how can one divorce oneself from one’s physical identity (male/female, race)?

    I don’t see how it is possible in this world.

    However, how is any assignment or acceptance of guilt for deeds never committed, not a clear line which is as repugnant to the spirit of Man, as convicting someone for a crime which he never did commit?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. LOL! And that is just the beginning to the counterarguments – or are they counterarguments to the counterarguments to the counterarguments, since counterarguments to that counterargument exist? 😉

      One of the first things that comes to my mind is how a kind of “negative pride” (a form of guilt) is used so effectively by the ChiComs – as it was by the Soviets – to strip us of our freedoms. American kids have been made ASHAMED of their nation and way of life, to be made easy pickin’s.

      Should we be proud or humble that we are on God’s team? Or is it a subtle and careful mix that keeps us safe? And is there “good pride”? Perhaps careful, wary pride? Or is even that always a danger?

      Can we be “proud of others” – or is that a danger, too? Maybe not as much, but still dangerous?

      We avoid pride and guilt – certainly the appearance of the former and the reason for the latter – and thus they are motivators, still. We are asked to do “pride-worthy” works and avoid “guilt-worthy” sins, yet also we know it wise to avoid both of those RESPONSES to what we do or don’t do.

      Pride and guilt are very dangerous – I know that much.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I was once proud of my newly blossoming figure when I was 12. That ended when I had to put on my first “undergarment” and realized it felt like a constriction device. Never proud again.

    Like

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