True Pride vs False Pride, Narcissistic Disorders. Proud To Be White? Muslim Pride? The sense of pride, vs too much pride, vs hiding shame and guilt.
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Proud to be white -
- Proud to be White -
I heard that and in me I felt both recoil and a spark of keen interest.
Recoil - the words came from someone who’s spent his life studying stuff like Tai Chi. Still, there’s something in me that says, beware, this is dangerous ground.
The voice continued - I was listening to a radio show - "After all, it's Europeans who sent a man to the moon. We've done amazing things. We shouldn't forget that. We should take pride."
And then he went on to do what any good caring European would do, at the moment: he spent the next 5 minutes lauding non-Europeans, their achievements.
In other words, European pride did not mean putting down others - just recognizing and applauding and taking pleasure in our accomplishments.
Not like, America the greatest.
Just that Europeans have accomplished great things.
This pride is far from we are the greatest, we are the best, we are better.
It’s also far from, we have only done horrific things, our history in only one of horrors.
For me, the kind of European pride he was mentioning - he being John Kells, a lifelong Tai Chi master - is hugely different from "pride cometh before the fall" - a sense of smug superiority, with some of the worst outcomes being stuff like the Holocaust.
And there I come to the need for German pride, not just German shame over the Holocaust.
Yes, much to recoil from in German history - but what of the good and the great - including that Germany had the largest feminist movement in the world before the Nazis came to power. So much creativity, so many rights.
There is a stage model I teach, in which the first stage is entrenched belief in superiority/inferiority: male/female, white/not-white, Christian/non-Christian, heterosexual/non-heterosexual. The first stage, in other words, is "pride cometh before the fall" - that kind of pride.
But a fall is needed, essential - because this belief system/society is built on falsehoods - that men/whites/etc are superior.
Somehow that false pride is toppled, usually by an uprising in which the oppressed take a large role - though far from all, as many of the oppressed buy into the beliefs of the dominant, or don’t believe change is possible, etc.
The next natural step: guilt and shame for all that has been done - often felt not by the guilty but by following generations - mix-up and loss, confusion, uncertainty re what to value.
In that stage, Europeans won’t value being European - except maybe covertly, and then they may try to expunge all vestiges of such pride, seeing it as something awful, something to be ashamed of.
Probably worst is if that sense of guilt and shame is largely or completely unrecognized - or seen as the correct outcome of history: "You should be ashamed" - even if the crimes happened generations past.
With that I come to political correctness gone mad - often fueled by those in non-dominant groups, who may feel blanket negativity about those in the dominant group, seeing prejudice and injustice everywhere, unable (at that stage) to see the humanity in those in the dominant group.
And it’s to those caught by the trap of political correctness gone mad that the words of John Kells, echoed by my words, have the most importance:
We all need to take pride in not just ourselves, but those of our group - in the great things accomplished.
There is a final stage - when such things not longer need to be even mentioned, because all people naturally have been brought up with much inner respect, self pride and pride in the achievements of others - also appropriate guilt and shame.
We’re not there yet, clearly.
So for now, whatever your group:
- Hutu (800,000 Tutsis massacred);
In each case, much to recoil from and say, never again.
Also always much to be proud of.
I will end on another point - to get to healthy pride, painful guilt and shame must be faced.
Until a group experiences (and emerges from) the painful guilt and shame, it can only have false pride - pride in something one should be ashamed of, or anyway recoil from (like enslaving, genitally mutilating, denigrating one group or another). In addition to false pride, there is likely to be allied stuff like denial of evidence that counters false beliefs.
When I think of one group that now, as a group, is holding out against feeling shame, I think of Islam, where everything is supposed to be great in its history - though there is massive evidence of conquest, slaughter, treachery - though there is the lack of equality of women - though there is slavery - genital mutilation (of course all not among all Muslims).
There is, from all I see, such a mess in that religion - with adherents being required, by the religious texts, to believe in the perfection of their religion despite all evidence to the contrary ...
so that, so far, huge numbers of Muslims have not dealt with anything like those of European origin, or those of Christian origin.
For those of European and Christian origin, the current journey is often different. The horrors of the past and present have been accepted as such by huge numbers. So in fact the current journey would need to be toward healthy pride - not the before-pride based on false beliefs and injustices accepted as right, but true pride based on taking in evidence and seeing there is, not just horror, but much of amazing achievement, compassion, creativity, and more.
In the end, we all need to come to true recognition of our group’s past horrors and imperfections, as well as past achievements - we all need to come to true pride.
Proud To Be White. When is it true pride, when false pride?