Pride: The Good, The Bad, and the Let’s-Not-Go-There

Hello, again. It is time for another Philosophy Sunday, and I thought that we would go a little deeper and a little more controversial this week, on account of the time of year. As some of you may or may not know, this is PRIDE time, and there are several PRIDE parades going on this very day. I am not here to debate the moral standing of the PRIDE believer–I neither have the time nor energy for that kind of debate. Having been on the receiving end of many a you’re-going-to-Hell tirade, I know where that particular topic leads. Instead, I want to focus on that word, pride, in and of itself.

Before I get into it, let me give you a little background into how this word has affected my life from the very beginning. I am the miracle daughter of a bra-burning hippie and a hard-core biker–neither of which were sure they would, could, or should have children. I am sister to a bunch of punks. Niece to a few lesbians–one of which just passed away. Cousin to a few who have been labeled “special needs.” Best friends to an exotic beauty living in a way too small town. Also various other subcultures notoriously hated upon. Both sides of the family name have Scottish roots, so I have a bit of Scottish pride in my bones–however a journey to the motherland would simply result in defending my name, seeing as the Campbell Clan is somewhat of a hated group. My point is that I have been surrounded by various minority groups since the moment of my birth.

Now, let’s look at Pride:

Pride – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia// // // //

Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings. With a negative connotation pride refers to an inflated sense of one’s personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

I know that I have personally heard many a diatribe about this word–“Pride cometh before the fall,” and “Pride…it may be a 5 letter word, but it can kill a very long word. Relationship!” Or even, “Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig!” There are rather a lot of derogatory quotes to attribute to pride, to hubris, to boastfulness. But there are good quotes too–“Take Pride in how far you have come, and have faith in how far you can go!” by Christian Larson, or this one from Paul Bryant, “If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride–and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

See, pride seemingly has a different connotation depending on the way that you look at it. It seems as if too much of it can make you rather blind to your own mistakes. Having too little keeps you in the shadows, harps on your self-esteem. What is pride? Well, like Wikipedia said, the positive connotation of pride ‘refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people…a fulfilled feeling of belonging.” I believe this is why the GLBT group has chosen this word. They, of course, are not the only ones that have attempted to push this word to its very limit. I mean, for goodness sake, the 20th century was pride central! It was the generation for equality! If it had not been, then would there still be slaves? Where would the women be? Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? (Yup, never heard that one in my country town!) What about the Jewish community? One person so filled with hate that he spread like a cancer, almost decimated an entire community. Is that what we should do with hate? Should we hate on the Jewish community, or any community, based on something so small? Should communities swallow their pride? Just take what we give? No.The very fact that we have taken the initiative to have pride, has moved us so far forward as a people…I think that is a beautiful thing. If we didn’t have the right to have pride in ourselves, to be able to bond together under that comfy umbrella of community-pride, where would we be?

I was raised by a hardcore feminist, who was also a survivor–a survivor of many things, but one of the major ones being that she was stalked and hurt for the simple reason of being a woman–“She shouldn’t have been dressed like such a sl*t,” was the cop’s response. My father was raised in California, when race wars were the big thing, and he was a poor white sickly kid–he had no race to call his own, because to be poor kicked him out of the white group. Eventually, he became a biker, a notorious group of outlaws! I tell you what, though–his friends have been some of the greatest people I have ever met. And my punk brothers…gawd! I love them. Did you know that, in a punk mosh-pit, if you fall down, there are at least five hands reaching down to help pick you back up. Again, some of the greatest, sweetest, most sincere, honorable people I have been blessed to call friends. I went to PRIDE FEST last year with my Aunt–had an absolutely amazing time! I fret to say it again, but I met some awfully amazing people there as well. If WWII had gone even further, then my fantastic “special needs” cousins would have never been allowed to be. Think about that. And they are all so beautiful. As far as my best friend goes–it is hard being a minority in a small town. She was lucky that she was a beautiful girl, because guys sought her instead of belittled her…normally. Even then, the fact that she had a pretty one rarely gave her the permission to open her mouth to profess her own opinion. You can bet her big-boned-such-a-nice-personality BFF had plenty to say in her stead! Lastly, I am a Leo, the lion, the one who is king of the jungle and master of the pride! I have been sapped so thoroughly in situations that require a certain level of pride to be able to stand up for one’s self, that I cannot readily accept the discrimination against the pride of one group over another.

I, myself, am frequently the target of hate. I have tattoos, I dye my hair funny colors, I have multiple piercings, I love motorcycles, I smoke, I had way too much fun in college, and I often find myself in the company of the “scourges” of the universe. Where in there does it say that I am not allowed to have pride? I like my tattoos, and I love my hair. Eight piercings is a lot, but they are all on my head (not that I would ever hate on anyone for piercing anything!). Smoking kind of goes hand-in-hand with being a rebel to society, hahaha, but I still like it, I still do it despite all the bad things that it does to me–My Choice! Yet this has been the topic of one of the you’re-going-to-hell tirades…so was college, hahaha! However, I sincerely love my life. I love my “scrotey” friends! Why? Because they love me. If I start going around thinking that I am better than everyone else, then that is definitely the negative connotation of pride. I have mentioned before that people suck–yeah, well, they suck all over. There isn’t a particular group who sucks more than any other. In fact, the idea that “people suck” is definitely more individually based, only generalized when one is talking about the whole population that is man! I’m an individualist, hahaha. So just because I vehemently dislike one girl, I am not going to hate on every woman just because they have that name. Just like I am not going to hate on an entire community because of one person, one belief.

So, this weekend, look at the world without judgement. Look at the moral of the story, not the problem. Why does that person have pride? Because their entire community is surrounded with hate? What would you do in their shoes? In fact, what would be the catalyst to allow your moment of pride to occur? To stand up for the color of your skin? For the gender you were born with? For the religion you believe in? For the person you love? For your job? For your social standing? What? Whether or not you agree with the reason, I do not think it is very productive to respond to pride with hate. “Have you ever been hated or discriminated against? I have.” (Eminem) For if you have, how does it feel? Did it make you want to have a voice with which to defend yourself? Would you quietly stand by while someone condemned you? Would you feel better if there was a community in which you felt like you belonged? I mean, isn’t the negative connotation for pride pretty much a definition for the prerequisites for hate? In the end, it is that other person’s problem as to whether they are right or wrong. My only thing is, do I admire the effort?

What do you think?


(From Facebook) Thank you Lizzy the Lezzy!

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