White Pride

This is a response written by my husband regarding “white pride”. I strongly believe each and every person should read it….

Why is ‘black american’ ok, but not ‘white american’? Because that’s all that american blacks have. Everyone else in the US either is an immigrant or a descendant of immigrants, from various countries. These people know of their heritage, so they’re Italian Americans, or Japanese Americans, or Greek Americans or Irish Americans etc. They can call themselves that because they know where they’re from.

Black Americans came over on slave ships, and then a concerted effort was made to strip them of their identity, their culture, their religion, their society.  It was illegal to teach a slave to read and write, so they couldn’t write down a history. Plus, slave owners often split up families, meaning the kids went to one owner, the wife to another, the husband to another. Do this through enough generations, and soon enough, you have no history, apart from your slave history, which could be told via stories and music.

So when you get to the 20th century, what’s left: the only commonality they had, is their skin color. They would probably like to be able to identify as Nigerian americans etc, but any knowledge of such history was lost long ago. So now, they’re ‘black americans’.

It’s a default position. Is this what white people really want? I doubt it. Most immigrants from Europe etc know of and are proud of their heritage, and often keep a bit of that heritage alive, through things like St. Patricks Day, Italian Days here in Vancouver etc.

Black pride.

First off, I think the idea of being proud of something you have no control over, doesn’t make a lot of sense. You’re proud because you were born black, or white? Maybe better to be proud of your own accomplishments.

But the idea of black pride arose in the US in the Sixties, as a way of trying to instill some confidence and sense of self-worth in black americans.

Don’t forget that blacks didn’t get the right to vote in the US until 1870. White property owners had that right since the days of the Revolution; non property owning whtes got it incrementally after 1812. But in reality, in the South, blacks didn’t get the vote until 1965, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act.  In between, blacks in the south were prevented from casting an effective ballot by violence and election fraud.

What you have with blacks in the US, is a group of 30 million people whose forefathers were sold like cattle, kept illiterate, considered as subhuman. During the Civil War, white Union soldiers were made POWs; blacks were just killed on the spot. There’s so much more; but the bottom line is you’re left with a group of people who have been told they’re nothing but niggers, for 300 years. What does that do to self esteem? Then, even once nominally free, they’re excluded from employment, equal education, equal housing etc etc.

So in that climate was born the idea of ‘black pride’. So that maybe they’d stop thinking of themselves as niggers, and start thinking that they have some self worth, and that it might not be futile to try and get ahead.

Do whites need ‘white pride’? They already own most everything, run everything. Do they need a special program to give them a feeling of self esteem? When did they ever not have self esteem?

Equal opportunity.

This is a tough one. It seems unfair. Why should blacks get special treatment? I think it’s a necessary and hopefully temporary evil. Everyone should be treated the same.

Problem is, blacks weren’t treated equally for a long time. No education, no history of scholarly pursuit [they were picking cotton, not going to Harvard]. No property. And a majority in the country hostile to their attempts to integrate.

As well, the US is what it is because of slavery. Slavery is a huge economic advantage, for obvious reasons. An unpaid workforce of millions, making money for their white owners. Slavery is a big part of the reason that the US could become a political and economic powerhouse, a world class power, so quickly. That’s one of the reasons the British tried to stop international slavery after it became illegal in the Empire in 1805 – because countries that still had it, had an economic advantage that would work to the detriment of the British Empire.

So, we have a world power, an economic giant. But the people who did so much to make it happen, have been excluded from the benefits. After what they did for hundreds of years, equal opportunity seems kind of fair, a balancing of the scales. It’s not a question of expecting non-blacks to feel guilty, but to accept that after what’s happened in the past, blacks will need a leg up to become full participants in this wealthy society.

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18 thoughts on “White Pride

  1. A very thought provoking post. I like that it made me think about the bigger picture with a broader understanding of the historical and political aspects aspects combined.

    I think equal rights has pendulum swung in the wrong direction but nowadays it is less about blacks and more about the disabled, and I mean this in the broadest sense, though blacks in many ways are still stuck in the “fight” mentality.

    For example, When moving to Florida, I was shocked to realize during the few interviews I was granted that they were interested in if I had a criminal records, drug addiction or mental illness…because they had programs for these and got federal money for hiring people like this and integrating them back into productive lives.

    All of which I am in favor of but when it goes to the extreme of refusing the stellar work history with rave recommendations and taking on one of the problem children instead, then I’d say that the US as a whole has completely missed the boat. I know you rant sometimes about the backwardness of the US and in this situation, I fully agree. It is the one aspect of being an American that makes me want to jump ship to a foreign land. Good, honest, decent people are being pushed out of the system in order to patronize those who consider themselves to be less than…in any possible way. It is an ultra liberal viewpoint and it will be our undoing.

    All of what you say about black pride could also be said about the gays and it is not surprising they also used the term Gay Pride.

  2. “First off, I think the idea of being proud of something you have no control over, doesn’t make a lot of sense. ”

    Brilliant. It’s like being “proud” that our bodies are (more of less) symmetrical, or that both our feet point in the same direction 🙂

  3. This is a very well-thought essay on your husbands part and I’ve pondered this topic from time to time. The US is still racially polarized and I took note that I was still introducing or relating an anecdote about friends who aren’t white with the preface, “my friend _____. who is black…” After seeing one of those internet memes, in this case Morgan Freeman saying we need to STOP labeling people with their color, I decided I needed to drop the color label as being my friend was label enough.

    I’m proud of myself and my friends, regardless of their color or background, but for their accomplishments and who they are.

    • and yet there are things a black can say about blacks that you would get criticized about if you said them.
      Sort of a new take on the Polish Joke (and I’m a Pole through and through who will still occasionally tell a Polish joke — it all being about being able to laugh at YOURSEF).

  4. I agree with everything in your post except that black citizens of the United States are lacking in a heritage.

    African-Americans have a rich heritage, but it is a heritage not imported from Africa, but on centuries of shared experience in American. African-Americans created ragtime, jazz and the blues. A good bit of American popular culture is African-American in origin. African-Americans gave the world writers such as Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright and James Baldwin. It gave American freedom fighters such as Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. African-American churches have a rich tradition.

    In short, black pride has as much basis as the pride of any other ethnic group. African Americans are not merely victims and losers who have to take refuge in pride in the color of their skin.

    • From my husband…
      A response…

      There was no intention to suggest that black Americans don’t have a culture or a heritage – they have both; they are rich and broad. The distinction is that black Americans were separated from the cultures and heritage of their places of origin in Africa in a way that did not happen to non-slave immigrants to America.

      Placed in such a position, blacks did indeed develop a new culture in their new home; but in most cases, they can’t refer back to a long lineage of culture from ‘the old country’ in the way that Irish-Americans, or Italian-Americans, or Polish-Americans can.

      Black Americans are not mere victims nor losers; but let’s not forget the social climate that existed around or shortly before the concept of ‘black pride’ took hold; for instance, in September 1957, a group of black students enrolled at Little Rock High School, tried to enter the school, but were blocked, not just by a crowd of hostile whites who spat on the teenagers, but also by the Arkansas National Guard, sent by the Governor to support the segregationists.

      On September 24, the President took control of the Guard away from the Governor, and ordered the US 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, to accompany the students as they entered the school.

      ‘Black pride’ came into existence, in part to combat the feelings of insecurity that would arise from having to face such a society on a day to day basis.

  5. I think its okay for white people to have white pride. Be proud of your history and culture. Have pride in your family history!

    Some black children are given a general history of their ancestry, and some have a more specific family tree. It is difficult for many African Americans to trace their history past slavery because that was a time when families were fractured due to the slave trade. The identity of African Americans were also fractured because a lot that was lost was replaced with white culture.

    The most recent trend in the US is embracing natural hair. Black women were taught that we should straighten our hair to assimilate into white America.
    However, some black women are growing out their perms and embracing their natural hair. We continued to see remnants of European influence in the way we wore our hair. Black women will wear a weave or wig like no other (lmao, including me). This trend started because our natural hair was not considered beautiful; but, that trend has been transformed.

    People should consider that black people are diverse. We don’t mirror each other. The behaviors of one should not be a blanketed statement of our true selves.

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  7. I agree with Arkenaten. And goodness knows there’s already too much racism down here in the U.S….. we have it to excess just in case you Canadians would like to borrow a little. :-\ It would be nice to clear the shelves of our stock.

  8. I knew my parents and grandparents on my mother’s side. I knew nothing about my father’s family nor my ancestors. Sure there was probably some cultural input that would have been nice to know, but I doubt that it would have made a difference in my life. This was a new land, a new start for all of our ancestors. Don’t forget white slavery was big business too. I like philebersole’s comments. He says it quite well. I guess I’ve never been one to let the past rule my decisions in the here and now.

    • The “white slavery” you refer to were indentured workers who did so by choice. Indentured people exchanged prescribed years of servitude in exchange for passage to America. Without question these immigrants had a tough time.Tough times for indentured whites – people who made a conscious decision to immigrate, doesn’t inhabit the same planet as black slaves taken against their will, shackled in iron and sold to the highest bidder.
      A new land for all – yes, a “new start” – I don’t even know how to respond to that.White immigrants were promised “freedom of religion”, black slaves were beaten until every last shred of former identity/belief was replaced with Christian names and obedience to God.

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