‘White pride’

I had a Facebook interaction with a “white pride” guy yesterday. We both were responding to a post that asked, if many other ethnic groups are allowed to have their “_____ pride,” why is not not OK for whites to have their pride?

It’s a fair question, but you better have the correct answer. The “white pride” crowd wants their PC answer, just like the “black pride” and other crowds.

For starters, I’m glad if your “white pride” stops short of “white supremacy,” though it wasn’t clear to me that this guy’s did, because he asserted “There is no race that has any more reason to feel more proud than me” and added, in a comment later deleted, that “whites” have been responsible for just about every significant invention in history. He dismissed me as just another ignorant “white guilt” proponent.

I wish we could put aside the unhelpful notion of race. The world is full of people groups, many of which fall under the same racial umbrella, who would be offended at being lumped in with the people group that lives next to them. Many of us are, in fact, a mixture of several people groups. My ancestors were Cherokee, Irish, Scottish, English, and German — and those are the ones I know about. I celebrate each of those distinct heritages. My Cherokee blood means I am “mixed race,” but I promise you my 19th-century German forefathers would have stiffened at the idea my Irish forebears were the same race as they.

“White” is not a race, but I’m not the least bit ashamed of any “white” contribution to civilization. I’m also not ignorant of the horrendous things my “white” forebears did to my Cherokee fathers and mothers. I am not ignorant that most every people group has abused a weaker group. In our sinful nature, we have a deep need to feel superior to someone else and to make ourselves stronger at their expense. Sometimes that takes on racial overtones.

Perhaps the issue is not actually about skin color at all, but pride in the contributions “our people” have made to the progress of civilization. In that case, this is about pride in a particular civilization, and the issue actually is about values, not skin color. If that is the case, we have to admit that other people of different skin color, who shared the values that make a great civilization and as a result made great contributions to our shared civilization, are “our people” too, regardless of their skin color. I have to celebrate the accomplishments of people of other races who have succeeded by adopting the values of great civilization.

I would hate that a man justifies his “white pride” (or any other) because it bolsters his feeling that he is superior and others are inferior. I am saddened that a man of any “color” thinks he has reason for pride because of skin color or the great accomplishments of others who happened to have the same color. Let a man take pride in his own world-changing contributions and not pretend he gets credit for another man or woman’s brilliance just because they have similar melanin.

None of which even gets to the problem that “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 NLT)

It also doesn’t address the fact that God made all humanity of one blood (Acts 17:26), that in Christ we are neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:28), and that the work of Christ was to unite us into one people, to break down the wall of hostility between us, and to create in himself one new people (Ephesians 2:14-16).

A modicum of pride in positive accomplishments is appropriate. Give every man and woman their due. But if your pride actually reflects hostility toward others who are different than you in something as superficial as skin color, you have more reason for shame than pride.

About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle/grandfather, hiker, writer/editor, snapshooter
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