I read online today that Tim Cook—CEO of Apple since Steve Jobs passed away—came out as being gay recently. He said something to effect of he was “proud to be gay.”
Good for him. Even with today’s much more relaxed morality and tolerance for most things and lifestyles, that’s still a pretty ballsy move. Privately, people already knew, but being publicly anything is always a big step.
It made me think, though, and some questions came to mind:
Why does it seem the arbiters of political correctness in this day and age only allow people belonging to one minority group or another to be proud of it?
Proud to be gay, or African-American, or Green Party, or Latino, or whatever it happens to be rather than the majority.
So if a person can be proud to be in the minority—any minority—is the converse also true? Must someone else be ashamed to be a majority?
In other words, should I feel as if I cannot be proud to be who I am if that someone happens to be caucasian, middle-class, straight, and Christian?
I don’t know.
It seems like whenever someone comes out as any of those things, or espouses any of the views that seem to go along with membership in any of those groups, there are some who will automatically assume that means they’re hiding a noose under the white bedsheet they’re wearing.
The words “hate speech” have become so ubiquitous they’ve lost all their power.
For my own part, I am caucasian. I am male. I am straight. I am a Christian. Does that mean I am particularly proud of myself for being any of those things? I don’t know that it does, because to my way of thinking, that is just part of who I am, and whether or not I admit it is secondary to the truth I already know, which is that with God came awareness of my identity.
Pride doesn’t really fit with that.
While humility is something any human being probably struggles with, I guess I would say the parts of myself I am proud of are the things I worked at, rather than the things I can’t help being.
I am proud to be a college graduate, even if it took me until middle age. It was hard, and expensive, and I struggled at it. It doesn’t mean I have animosity toward anyone without a degree. It just means I worked my ass off to get mine.
I am proud to be the husband of my wife, and the father of my children. Marriage and parenthood are a grand freaking struggle sometimes, but I have never given up and I never will. It doesn’t mean I hate single people. It just means I love my family—who would not be in my life without God.
I am proud to be an American, because even with the struggles our country goes through on a daily basis—and we all know what they are—the fact that our country remains in the face of all the assaults crashing on her, the freedoms our citizens are allowed are pretty extraordinary. You can fly your flag upside-down, or even burn it. The constitution protects you.
Am I proud of my faith? That’s actually hard to answer. Not because I don’t have it, or because I question it, but because my faith is grounded in humility, and service. Not being served. I guess what I am proud of regarding faith is that he chose me. Who would choose me? I wouldn’t. I would pick my frail and self-serving ass dead freaking last, if at all. While there is some pride there, I am also daily humbled by my savior.
I am proud to be chosen, and to have my name written in the book of life. I’m proud I was chosen to share that with people. These are my convictions, and I am certainly not saying I expect yours to be the same. Please do me the same courtesy. In Much Ado About Nothing, the character John the Bastard says something to the effect of “Let me be as I am, and seek not to alter me.”
It doesn’t matter that I’m white, or straight, or any of those other things. While membership in those categories doesn’t necessarily mean I should be proud of them, I also don’t need to be ashamed. Yet political correctness seems to demand I hang my head because of something I had no part in determining. So if you don’t want me to try and alter you, let me be as I am. We need to respect each other more than we do. And it goes “both” ways. All ways.
If I cannot or should not be proud of being things I can’t help but be, then why is it different to be proud of different skin tone, or language, or which gender I feel called to be with sexually?
It may not be intentional, but it is without question a double standard. And it confuses me.
Oddly, just now I thought of this:
Earlier in the movie, Eminem loses a battle when he chokes out after being mocked and ridiculed by his opponent for a handful or inarguable truths his opponent throws up in his face to embarrass and humiliate him. It works. In the above scene, he does a couple of different things. One, he grows a thicker skin. Two, he realizes if he admits that which he knows to be true about himself, he takes away the power of that truth to hurt him. Also, he finds out some truth about his opponent which causes him to choke.
Maybe, if we all were just able to be truthful and open about who we are, opposing words would lose the power to hurt us?
I don’t know. I’m just a white, straight, bald, semi-conservative male who likes show tunes AND heavy metal. I’m a big ball of confusion.
And I have better questions than I have answers. So maybe we can figure this out together.