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.
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?
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.