Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Pride Movement

In Accra now and on one hand, grateful for a stronger Internet signal. On the other, I get hooked into Facebook news and encounter horror shows like the post below (this actually shared by a friend who was disgusted by it, as any right-minded person would be).

Once more, I’m convinced that lack of information, experience and ability to think coherently about information and experience is at the root of so much of the bad things happening in my country—or any country. And therefore, an informed media, good education and the development of actual thinking skills is the necessary antidote and something actually under our control and within our reach.

Why does the Gay Pride movement exist? Why did James Brown sing “Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud!”? For the simple reason that others felt that they had the right and power to define gay folks and black folks and tarnish them with the brush of shame. When that becomes a collective agreement, reinforced in TV, movies, children’s books, novels, newscasts, public policy and general public discourse, those born black or attracted to the same sex must battle hard to keep that shame from penetrating deep into their soul. And so the first step is a both a personal struggle to feel pride and collective movement to support it and proclaim it.

So it makes no sense whatsoever for majority groups who control that discourse, who use their power to define others, who purposefully try to keep certain groups of people down or shove them off to the side or out of the country club, to now whine and complain that they are being oppressed and discriminated against. It was with this in mind that I responded to the Facebook post like this:

Like the folks asking for "white pride," they're displaying their sheer ignorance of how power works. Unlike James Brown, the Beach Boys didn't need to sing a song like "Say it loud! I'm white and I'm proud!" because their whiteness had never been defined by someone else as something that needed to be defended. Substitute "Christian/ male/ rich/ straight etc". for 'white above' and the same truth holds. These were—and are—accepted as, viewed as, assumed to be, spoken of as, portrayed as, "normal" by those with the power to make these false pronouncements. These people who feel uncomfortable because the privilege of their identity feels threatened by those who (gasp!) dare to be different are deluded to think that they deserve "Pride Parades." Their feeling that they're being insulted when people question their history of condemning, refusing to accept or understand, hating, hurting and even killing others just because of these differences, is not akin to “reverse racism” or “heterophobia.” For that to be true, they would have to be jeered at, beat up, discriminated against, jailed, insulted, portrayed as bad, idiotic or sick human beings in multiple medias just because they are white or Christian or male or straight or rich etc. They would have to be judged from these outward signs of identities before anyone bothered to get to know them as a person. If and when that happens, let the WCMSR Pride Parades begin! Until then, just shut-up and educate yourself.

So there. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of initiating the Bald Male Pride Movement. Any takers?

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