Updated 01 July 08: See below.
Pride - the root of all that sentiments we identify as nationalism, patriotism, chinese pride, gay pride, white pride, black pride and so on.
I read this paragraph about pride a very long time ago, and it was simply the best piece I have ever seen written on this topic. Absolutely spot on.
You have no right to be proud, unless you did it yourself. That goes for anything from racial pride to patriotism. Your race, gender and nationality are fucking accidents of birth. Being proud of something you got stuck with when mamma squeezed you out is stupid. You have a right to be proud of your own personal accomplishments, and perhaps those of your children (if you were actually a good parent, and your kids didn't succeed by sheer bloody-mindedness alone). That's it. Your parents fucked, Mom got knocked up, and ~9 months later, there you were. Race, gender and nationality handed to you out of some cosmic lottery machine. Fuck your white pride, black pride, national pride, and all the horseshit that goes along with it.The next time you feel proud about your <insert a cultural / social identity>, and bundled with it, some sense of xenophobia or contempt towards others - think about this.
Update: After reading some disagreements in the comments, I would like to clarify my opinion about this issue.
- In the first paragraph, "Pride - the root of all that sentiments..." doesn't mean that the sentiments are "evils". In spite of the common phrase "the root of all evil", in this sentence I only meant "the origin or cause of".
- In the final paragraph, I don't mean that if you have pride, you automatically have xenophobia or contempt towards others as well. It's more of, "if you also have xenophobia or contempt that comes with pride". However, to be frank, although parochial mentality doesn't always come with pride, it does come out pretty often.
- By quoting that angry paragraph, I might have painted myself as taking an extreme view against anyone with any sort of pride about any social identity. That's not true. In fact, I am more of against the assertion of superiority or dominance, rather than pride per se. I don't think pride about culture-by-chance is very meaningful; however, I have no issue with people feeling good about what one's great-grandfather did, and I certainly won't feel like "fuck your pride" in that case.
However, I take it very seriously when people think that they are a proud race, the superiority / pride of which they will defend to the end of their lives. Proud by birth, they say. I need not say more about race issues in Malaysia. I also happen to read some chinese forum, and their rising nationalism is quite a worrying phenomenon. Nationalism is one of the trigger of the wars by Japanese and Nazis, in any case.