Essay #10: Black Pride

A friend of mine posted a video on his Instagram story of a stone-faced, bearded white man explaining, eloquently and in a voice made for radio, why black pride exists, and white pride does not. It is the perfect modern documentary/opinion piece: it is one minute long, the issue is “solved” in that time, the speaker is very certain and convincing, and there are even subtitles if you want to watch it on mute. In a way I feel very displaced, because I try to accomplish something similar with an essay that readers must read on a site that is tricky to find about topics no one cares about. If this was a contest, I would be losing (which is why I will never admit that this is a contest). I recommend watching the video quickly now because I will be referencing it in the essay, and it will help you understand what I am talking about.

I think the video is a great explanation on why Black pride and White pride mean two very different things, but since the video is so short there is much discussion left to be had. The basic concept is that Black pride is the only pride that is associated with a color because in America you are treated in a certain way based on your skin color, and if you are black the treatment will trend towards negative. I think this is fair, but I think a caveat needs to be added: If (a big “if”) we manage to create the America in which people are not treated differently based on the color of their skin, Black pride will be inappropriate for the same reasons White pride is inappropriate. There are already some disturbing offshoots of Black pride that dip into the realm of Black Supremacy (SPLC list of Black supremacist groups from Wikipedia and wiki page about Melanin Theory).

The fact that Black pride should perhaps be abandoned as equal treatment based on race is achieved begs the question, can the Black community so easily shed it when the time comes? Perhaps it will dissolve naturally and be replaced by more accepted forms of pride (pride in family, community, etc.). On the other hand, perhaps it weaves itself into the culture and the seeds are sown for a toxic future dynamic between the Black community and other races that mean it no harm. I see a remarkable parallel between this and the unification of Germany in 19th century.

In the years 1804-1814CE, many German-speaking states (there was no nation called Germany at the time) were subjugated by Napoleon and France. Napoleon’s endless conquest and relentless conscription of German-speaking men created disillusionment among the German-speaking peoples. A movement arose to unify in order to shrug off the yoke of French dominance. These German-speaking states created an alliance and defeated Napoleon at Leipzig and pursued him across the Rhine. In the following decades, these states would walk a rocky road that led to their unification as one nation (or rather “empire”) in 1871. This unity was in part accomplished due to the German nationalism that germinated under the heel of the French. It proved to be a dangerous aspect of their national identity and was manipulated after the embarrassment in defeat of WWI by a man named Adolf Hitler.

Am I saying that Black pride will lead to another Holocaust? Nope. However, it as a method to create unity to solve/alleviate the problems of inequity or subjugation in the short-term that may introduce vulnerabilities in the long-term.

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