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Being proud of your heritage/culture?

  1. Jul 28, 2009 #1

    Pengwuino

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    This question came to me last night while I was putting the finishing touches to my grand unified theory that involved only algebra and came to the conclusion that Earth is only 853 years old. I hear the ol 'I'm proud of my culture/heritage' thrown about a lot around where I live, typically by more racist people, and one question has finally come to mind: What does that mean?

    I mean really, when I think of the word proud, a few things come to mind. For one, someone being proud of their son or daughter. This seems to make sense because you helped raise your child and how they behave reflects upon how good of a parent you were (at least in one's mind this can be argued, im not interested in whether or not its true). Another is being proud of your neighborhood (or more commonly heard as "Taking pride in our streets") which to me still makes sense because you have a hand in keeping your neighborhood clean or in helping reduce crime and what not. Of course, there's always being proud of yourself where you take pride in the things you've done and accomplished... no need for an explanation there.

    The idea of having pride in your culture and heritage confuses me though. I just don't understand what it means to have pride in people you don't know, most of whom are dead, or cultures which you had no part in creating really. Someone enlighten me, san francisco style. Wait just kidding, enlighten me in a way that's logical.
     
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  3. Jul 28, 2009 #2
    I've thought a lot about this. I think the reason people will say they have pride in something like heritage, is because they're really saying they're not ashamed of it (unless of course they're racist). It's not the same thing, but that's what I think it's turned into.

    You can only be proud of something you've had a part in. It makes no sense to be proud of what race you are, since it was completely accident and you had no choice in the matter.
    I'm white. Am I proud of that? No, what is there to be proud of just BEING white? Nothing. I'm proud of some of my actions (and not so proud of some others), but there's nothing about being white that makes me proud of that fact alone.
    Am I proud to share a race with some of the other great white people in history? No. Why should I care what race they were? And what does them being great have anything to do with me? I also share a race with some of the worst people in history. Can I just ignore those people and be proud to share my race with the great ones? The whole thing is tantamount to racism.

    If someone is proud to be Asian or black or white or whatever, that either means they're not ashamed of it, and they're conveying that feeling in kind of an aggressive way, or that they're racist and they're proud to be what race they are, because they wouldn't want to be any of the other inferior races.
     
  4. Jul 28, 2009 #3
    'I'm proud of my culture/heritage' just means 'I don't have anything to be proud of myself, my sons and daughters, or neighbourhood'.

    It's human's evolutionary instinct to be proud of something. To few people, to make them feel proud, they just need to look at themselves. If you can't find anything there, look at your children, neighborhood, religion, country, race, and it goes on...
     
  5. Jul 28, 2009 #4

    mgb_phys

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    Indeed, I'm proud that my own ancestors had the backbone to make the move form the sea to the land.
     
  6. Jul 28, 2009 #5

    lisab

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    How can you be, when your ancestors who decided to stay in the sea also had backbones :confused:?
     
  7. Jul 28, 2009 #6

    tiny-tim

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    rivers rock! (ok, rocks rock too)

    I'm proud that my ancestors had the backbone to make the move from the sea to the rivers. :approve:
     
  8. Jul 28, 2009 #7
    Most people I've met who are proud of their ancestors don't know who one of them is.
     
  9. Jul 28, 2009 #8
    I knew an annoying girl whose ancestors immigrated from Ireland 4-5 generations ago. She was always talking about her Irish heritage. Well, she took a trip there. About it, she said: 'I knew from the moment I saw it that I was HOME!'

    I said, 'I thought you were from Chicago...'
     
  10. Jul 28, 2009 #9
    Those always piss of the locals by calling everything quaint :)
     
  11. Jul 28, 2009 #10

    Pengwuino

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    And let me guess, she hasn't moved to Ireland yet.

    Reminds me of Maddox's post about that group of celebrity mental defects that have that show on MTV where they go to third world countries and villages and say things like "Wow, this place is great! We're out in the middle of nowhere!" and Maddox comments about "Yah, I'm sure the villagers like knowing that they live in the middle of nowhere".
     
  12. Jul 28, 2009 #11

    Office_Shredder

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    If you're brought up in a certain culture, it automatically looks better than other cultures because of familiarity (novelty will give other cultures a temporary chance, but inevitability kicks in). Hence everyone should be proud of their culture by default according to you. Why be so surprised then?
     
  13. Jul 28, 2009 #12
    Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. - George Bernard Shaw
     
  14. Jul 28, 2009 #13

    Pengwuino

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    Yes but why would someone be proud? Liking one's culture is different. Being brought up in a culture certainly would make sense that you like it, but why take pride in it?
     
  15. Jul 28, 2009 #14

    russ_watters

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    A good answer, but there is another layer: "I'm proud of my heritage/culture" can be like saying "I'm proud of my kids".

    It doesn't automatically imply that you are saying you had anything to do with what they did, it's sorta just a way of congratulating them and saying you are glad you are associated in some way with what they did, even if that association is just living on the same piece of land (I'm proud of the founding fathers of the US).

    While it may be true that some people take it further than that, it is not a good idea to assume that anyone who uses such words means them in any stronger a way than that (as some are doing in this thread...).
     
  16. Jul 28, 2009 #15

    Pengwuino

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    Oh but thanks to immigration, that form of nationalism is a very very small subset of what I'm talking about. Maybe it's different in the South or something where their idea of culture and heritage is actually of the United States (or maybe im stereotyping...), but in say, California, most people were born or raised in the US but their culture and heritage is from the country they first immigrated from.
     
  17. Jul 28, 2009 #16

    Evo

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    That reminds me of a guy I dated. He considered himself Irish. Was completely obsessed with all things Irish. His dad was American, but I think his dad's grandparent's were Irish. His mother was Japanese. He was in complete denial that he was 50% Japanese. I found it quite comical, but at the same time quite sad. He hated his mother, so he refused to be part Japanese. :bugeye:
     
  18. Jul 28, 2009 #17

    lisab

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    Perhaps it's a reaction to being disrespected in the past.

    For example, my grandfather never, ever mentioned his Apache heritage, because when he grew up people would make fun of him - tease him and call him Geronimo and such.

    But now things are different, and most people who have Native heritage will tell you they're proud of it. I take that to mean, I'm not ashamed of my heritage (with a little bit of "And if you call me Geronimo I'll probably punch you" sprinkled in :wink:).
     
  19. Jul 28, 2009 #18

    Pengwuino

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    That still doesn't make too much sense, logically. I mean sure, it feels like that's a good reason, but i can't seem to see it as logical. If you consider a fat person who was fat as a kid. If he was disrespected because he was fat as a kid, why would one feel proud of being fat once they grew up? In both cases, aside from the health problems with being overweight, there is nothing intrinsically good or bad with being fat or native american, it's just who you are.

    Then again, being overweight is something you can logically be ashamed of... hmm i need to think about this more.
     
  20. Jul 28, 2009 #19
    You're related to your kids. They came directly from you. You've known them all their life and you can attribute their quality of character to your own.

    The problem is they're NOT associated in any way with what they did. I'm white just like Isaac Newton, but does that fact alone make me associated with his discoveries?
    We just shared the same race. You can even broaden it to species; we're both human.

    Ultimately isn't pride strictly a self-centered feeling? By definition, I don't think you can be proud of anyone but yourself.
    Did he equate his tolerance for alcohol with him being Irish? I know a lot of pseudo-Irishman who do that.

    But that's strange; usually when given the option, people choose the Japanese side. They got Ninjas and Samurais and stuff.
    Black women especially are becoming indoctrinated in the belief that they should be proud because they're big and beautiful. It's unhealthy. I know a woman who has that mindset. She also has diabetes.
     
  21. Jul 28, 2009 #20
    The real challenge is to be proud of the Other - like rooting for the underdog at the Olympics, recognizing how cultures competing with our own now once allied themselves with our ancestors, or understanding just what it means to be human. That's when we feel true pride.
     
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