An Argument for Pride

Marginalized peoples are taught by the dominant group that what they are is something to be ashamed of, is what is keeping them down, is what is the problem in their lives and not the practices of the dominant culture.

In order to fight the forces of prejudice, the marginalized people must first fight a mindset that says that they are at the core their own problem. You fight shame with pride, not only inside yourself but in the greater society as well. You make what makes you “different” not a bad thing but a good thing, a great thing. And when necessary you exaggerate that difference, as an act of direct action against the distortions of the status quo. And by defying the definitions of shame coming from the status quo you de-marginalize the subordinate group, remove shame from group membership in the greater social mind, and deconstruct the hierarchical paradigm of subjugation across groups.

Once this is done, majority and minority groups can transcend not only the need for “pride” but the superficial categorizations that separate us and subjugate us one to another on pure arbitrary grounds.

Kids today in my neighborhood today are not blasting James Brown’s SAY IT LOUD I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD from their car stereos any more, but they don’t feel that being black is a burden either. And that’s because my generation did “say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud.”


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