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Old 03-23-2008, 09:31 AM #1
ipoppedtimmy
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A serious question that explores the concept of race and identity

Here's a question that was crucial in my understanding of the concept of race.

Honestly think about this one, I want to hear what you guys have to say. I know many of you are going to be inclined to say 'this is racist' or challenge the principle of the question. Thats fine, but please do it in a manner to which you raise elaborate on why the question is racist instead of cutting straight to a personal attack.

I understand that the question can be controversial, but it is not being asked with the goal of degrading anyone, it is being asked to promote thoughtful discussion concerning race and identity.

This thread will serve as the first of a series of threads I will be making about the concepts of race and identity.

The question:

What are you most proud of about being white?



I will post thoughtful responses that explore different approaches and understanding to the question in this post once they are posted to make reading easier.


Responses:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swerve22 View Post
I'm not sure, I haven't really thought about it much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatyr View Post
I don't think I can be proud of something I can't control. I'm not proud of my blue/green eyes or height, so I don't see why I should be proud of my skin color.

I guess I can be proud of how comfortable some people are with me as opposed to my middle-eastern/black peers, but again, thats not something I can control and only comes as a result of other people's prejudice, not something my skin is able to do and someone else's isn't.

My skin in and of itself hasn't helped me achieve anything, so really there isn't anything for me to be proud of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JcKa View Post
When I say this, I don't mean to sound self-loathing or "trite" to others, but I'm not proud to be white.

To expand on that, I'm not saying I'd rather be x, it's just I find nothing about being white to be proud of. I guess I'm neutral.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haga652001 View Post
Being white certainly isn't anything to be proud of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by My Father
I'm proud that I can recognize the plight of the non-whites
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:47 AM #2
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I'm not sure, I haven't really thought about it much.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:50 AM #3
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I don't think I can be proud of something I can't control. I'm not proud of my blue/green eyes or height, so I don't see why I should be proud of my skin color.

I guess I can be proud of how comfortable some people are with me as opposed to my middle-eastern/black peers, but again, thats not something I can control and only comes as a result of other people's prejudice, not something my skin is able to do and someone else's isn't.

My skin in and of itself hasn't helped me achieve anything, so really there isn't anything for me to be proud of.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:55 AM #4
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When I say this, I don't mean to sound self-loathing or "trite" to others, but I'm not proud to be white.

To expand on that, I'm not saying I'd rather be x, it's just I find nothing about being white to be proud of. I guess I'm neutral.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:04 AM #5
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Being white certainly isn't anything to be proud of.

if we examine this as a question of Race Identity, the White race has committed more injustice, more pain and suffering. than any other race in the world. We have carved up complete Continents to exploit the natural recouces. displacing, and in some cases killing all together, the inhabitants just so we could get our greed on.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:06 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatyr View Post
I don't think I can be proud of something I can't control.
Are you proud of your intelligence?

Are you proud of your athletic ability?

Perhaps we have different understandings of the notions of pride, but I for one am very proud of my ability to reason critically and be a great athlete.

Something to think about in the context of your statement.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:07 AM #7
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I refuse to be proud in something I have absolutely no control over. Am I fortunate that I am white though? Yes.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:17 AM #8
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I have no control over the color of my skin, so there is nothing to be proud of. Of course, the flip side of that is the fact that I don't care what the skin color of other people is either. An honest person is an honest person, no matter what their race.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:21 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haga652001 View Post
if we examine this as a question of Race Identity, the White race has committed more injustice, more pain and suffering. than any other race in the world. We have carved up complete Continents to exploit the natural recouces. displacing, and in some cases killing all together, the inhabitants just so we could get our greed on.
To be fair, I'm sure there was plenty of warlords in Africa and South America, and China and Japan and elsewhere who would have done the same thing had they ever been able to achieve the level of power, organization, military capability, and influence as some of the bigger European powers at the time such as England, France, and Spain. I don't think it's about race at all, but rather about human greed.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:25 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipoppedtimmy View Post
Are you proud of your intelligence?

Are you proud of your athletic ability?

Perhaps we have different understandings of the notions of pride, but I for one am very proud of my ability to reason critically and be a great athlete.

Something to think about in the context of your statement.
Is a sculptor proud of a raw lump of clay, or marble?
Is a jeweler proud of a pile of raw casting grain?
Is a painter proud of the blank canvas?
No to all of them.

Your intelligence will do you no good if you do not use it to learn. That takes motivation, and dedication. The smartest people in the world would be nothing more than smart savages if they did not put their intelligence to use, and use it to learn more.
The same goes for athletics. You may be a freak of nature, and you can throw a 120 mph fast ball, but if you don't practice, you won't be able to function in a game as part of a team to win.

Being proud of an inherited attribute you had no control over is one thing, being proud of the end result of the use of that attribute, fostered by hard work, is another thing entirely.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:29 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatyr View Post
I don't think I can be proud of something I can't control. I'm not proud of my blue/green eyes or height, so I don't see why I should be proud of my skin color.

I guess I can be proud of how comfortable some people are with me as opposed to my middle-eastern/black peers, but again, thats not something I can control and only comes as a result of other people's prejudice, not something my skin is able to do and someone else's isn't.

My skin in and of itself hasn't helped me achieve anything, so really there isn't anything for me to be proud of.
so your saying only blacks and ppl from the middle east hate you? Ha thats a laugh.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:29 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paint Freak 98 View Post
I refuse to be proud in something I have absolutely no control over. Am I fortunate that I am white though? Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vantrepes View Post
I have no control over the color of my skin, so there is nothing to be proud of.

To your posts I will ask the same question I asked to Gatyr:

Are you proud of your intelligence?

Are you proud of your athletic ability?

Perhaps we have different understandings of the notions of pride, but I for one am very proud of my ability to reason critically and be a great athlete.

Please don't shy away from this question, as I'm really lost to understand how someone can be proud of something that they have no control over.

Are you proud to be an American?

Did you have any control over being American?

Are you proud of the achievements of America?

Did you have any control over the achievements of America?

Are you proud that America won World War II?

Did you have any control over the victory?
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:30 AM #13
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Quote:
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so your saying only blacks and ppl from the middle east hate you? Ha thats a laugh.
That isn't what he was saying at all.

He was saying that he recognizes that people treat him differently than a similar person that is of African or Middle Eastern decent.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:39 AM #14
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I'm proud of who I am today and the people that I've come from (family). And part of that does include the fact that I'm white. If I weren't white, I don't know if I would be the same person that I am today, not that I'd be worse or better off, just that I'd be different.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:45 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swerve22 View Post
To be fair, I'm sure there was plenty of warlords in Africa and South America, and China and Japan and elsewhere who would have done the same thing had they ever been able to achieve the level of power, organization, military capability, and influence as some of the bigger European powers at the time such as England, France, and Spain. I don't think it's about race at all, but rather about human greed.

We carved up the world. no amounts of what if? scenarios are going to make up for it.

Not only that. we have had the arrogance to take control of races, in an effort to advance our own perceived superiority.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:46 AM #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipoppedtimmy View Post
To your posts I will ask the same question I asked to Gatyr:

Are you proud of your intelligence?

Are you proud of your athletic ability?

Perhaps we have different understandings of the notions of pride, but I for one am very proud of my ability to reason critically and be a great athlete.

Please don't shy away from this question, as I'm really lost to understand how someone can be proud of something that they have no control over.
See the above post for your answers to those questions.


Quote:
Are you proud to be an American?
Proud as in puff my chest out, and strut around? No.
I am happy that I live in the US because of the freedoms it offers me, and my family, and I am willing to fight to keep those freedoms for my family, and this country.

Quote:
Did you have any control over being American?
Nope.

Quote:
Are you proud of the achievements of America?
No, but again, I am happy to live in a country that allowed others the freedom to achieve.

Quote:
Did you have any control over the achievements of America?
Nope.

Quote:
Are you proud that America won World War II?
No, but I am happy that we did. My great Uncle died in that war, and I honor his sacrifice the same way I honor all the other soldier who have fought to keep this country safe, I bow my head, and say "Thank you."

Quote:
Did you have any control over the victory?
Nope, as you know, it was over long before I was born.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:46 AM #17
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Originally Posted by ipoppedtimmy View Post
That isn't what he was saying at all.

He was saying that he recognizes that people treat him differently than a similar person that is of African or Middle Eastern decent.
Oh my fault, I apologize.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:47 AM #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vantrepes View Post
Being proud of an inherited attribute you had no control over is one thing, being proud of the end result of the use of that attribute, fostered by hard work, is another thing entirely.
I see where you're coming from, and you offer a really convincing argument to back up your position.

Let me rephrase the question slightly to better highlight what I'm getting at:

Do you think it is possible for people to share a common identity based on things that they have no control over?

For instance if you were very intelligent and received special attention while in kindergarten (I'm working from the assumption that a kindergartner would not have the rational capacity to recognize what opportunity he or she is being given and rather would simply follow the course laid before him or her). Would you share a common identity with the other students in your gifted class given that you were all recognized for your intelligence?
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:47 AM #19
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I'm not really proud of being white. I honestly can say though it can be advantageous under a lot of circumstances, and inhibiting with a few. So under some conditions I might wake up and say, damn I'm happy I'm white today, but it isn't because I'm proud of being white, really its just all I know.
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:08 AM #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipoppedtimmy View Post
I see where you're coming from, and you offer a really convincing argument to back up your position.

Let me rephrase the question slightly to better highlight what I'm getting at:

Quote:
Do you think it is possible for people to share a common identity based on things that they have no control over?
Sure they can. You can be proud of a lot of things. That doesn't mean that the pride is justified.

Quote:
For instance if you were very intelligent and received special attention while in kindergarten (I'm working from the assumption that a kindergartner would not have the rational capacity to recognize what opportunity he or she is being given and rather would simply follow the course laid before him or her). Would you share a common identity with the other students in your gifted class given that you were all recognized for your intelligence?
At that age, they don't care about it.
A child that young is going to be proud of what they are praised for, and that's about it. The thing is, to trigger most praise, you have to do something. The child would most likely do well in class, and get good grades, thus the parents would be praising the end result of their work combined with their intelligence, not their intelligence alone.
If the parents drilled into their heads that they should be proud to be allowed into the class, then they might take pride in the fact that they were there, but even then, at 6 years old, they are proud of what they are praised for. So the end result would be the parents being proud of something they have no control over, same as being proud that you are white or black.
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:16 AM #21
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To analyze this question you have to analyze race vs. ethnicity. If you're talking about the genetics of me being white, my ethnicity, its hard to be proud that my parents just happened to be white isn't it? For race and the social construction that says I, as a white person, should like rock music, not be able to dance, and pronounce all the syllables in a word when I speak is again nothing to be proud of. Just because someone is white doesn't mean you should take pride in something someone else did or has accomplished, just as you shouldn't have to take the blame for the same people. I don't share a common identity with anyone but myself, if i was black, white, or purple I wouldn't want to be lumped in with a group and generalized and as such theres no reason to be proud that you happened to be born a certain color because in the end (or maybe the beginning) we all evolved from monkeys anyway.
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