When Proud Means “Not Ashamed”

Pride is something which has to be interpreted in context as well. If I say I am proud to be white, it would mean something entirely different than if I said I was proud to be black or gay.

When a gay person, says they are proud of who they are, it is really just a way of saying they are not ashamed of being gay. If you ever read about the experience of people who are gay, then shame is a major part of it. Many struggle initially with being ashamed of who they are. There is this implication in society that it is something to be ashamed of because it is not normal. When somebody who is gay comes out of the closet, it is often a way of expressing that they are not longer ashamed of who they are. They can say they are proud of themselves.

It actually took me longer than necessary to grasp this. When I was member of a leftist political youth organization as a teenager I could not fathom why everybody clapped when the guy holding the speech announced that he was gay. It made it look like it was an accomplishment to just be gay. That made no sense to me. As I got older I realized they were all clapping because he had dared to state publicly, that he was gay. It was a big step for him, and they were applauding his bravery. However this went totally past my head, I must admit. I was really much more of a right winger who happened to be in a leftist organization. Nothing made sense to me, so I left.

It is much the same story with blacks. Through a large part of history in the west they have been treated at second rate people, as only half a man. Blacks were called “boy”. It is why blacks would say “hi man,” to each other. It was a form of reckognition. When they say “black lives matter,” what is implied is “black lives matter too.” It should probably have been spelled out because many whites conservatives instead hear it as “black lives matter more.”

Saying “I am proud to be whites,” means something entirely different. History has placed whites at the top. We have been the colonizers, run the empires, invented racial hierarchies, where we put ourselves on the top. It does not mean whites are more racist than others, but that we have for hundreds of years had the power to shape the world by our racism in ways other have not.

Thus saying “proud to be white,” has racial superiority implications. Likewise Christianity has been a dominant religion in the west for hundreds of years with clear advantages over all other belief systems. I know some Christians like to pretend they are back in the Roman colosseum, as the marginalized group, but that is simply not true of the west. I think it is fair to talk about Christians as marginalized in various muslim countries. But to state that it is better to be gay than Christian in Boston or Toronto I think is stretching it too far. Society is not just one mayor. There are myriads of people in all levels of government you have to deal with. Many of these will be Christians themselves and favorable to you, even in Boston. People are not going to beat you up or call you names on the streets of Boston for being Christian. While that is still something that could happen if you were visibly gay.

It is also a question of Apples to Oranges comparision. I see how Christians often equate not being able to impose their world view on others, as discrimination. I don’t think a restaurant really has any business promoting a particular religion, in particular when we are talking about the one which is dominant in society. It may be acceptable if it is the religion of marginalized minorities. Restaurants operate in the public space and hence ought to be accommodating towards all kinds of people.

It is also the question of to what degree should we accomodate extremist views. Let me make an exagguration to clarify my point: Not allowing ISIS style sharia courts, is not discrimination against Islam.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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