The Problem with Pride

Gay pride weekend, affectionately referred to by many as Pride Weekend, is when more than ever you will find naked white men (some of them straight) who parade themselves in the Castro district, the epicenter of the City’s gay community.

Let’s look at identity in this instance. The nudists are almost all white men. It’s archetypal that white men feel they can push such limits, and positing this in terms of race helps explain why such a majority of these nudists are white. And gender, imagine if women went naked. With sexual assaults of females still rampant, women know better than to set themselves up for an attack. Though I prefer not to see it, I have seen one naked white woman and one naked black man.

A few defend public nudity as if their pride, or rather their civil liberty, is at stake. In conjunction with this is the idea that gayness is their major identity, another phenomenon expressed more often with white men. As with any group that has dominance, whether socially, culturally, demographically, purposeful or not, we’re often oblivious to our privileged statuses and only identify with our oppressed status; in this case gay. Yet pridefulness becomes oppression. Let me explain how.

As shown in examination of racial identity development, when individuals first struggle against oppression, they may unknowingly act like the oppressors in an effort to unshackle themselves. They become the hate they wish to remove from the world. They are self-absorbed or angry without focus on how it affects others. Civil liberty is one thing, respect and consideration of your community is another. Frankly I find it offensive that men wanting to walk around with their dicks hanging out is equated to our better known civil rights struggles.

This self-righteousness reminds me of the “born-again” fundamentalists, equivalent to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They typically believe that everything they do is beyond condemnation. As with the “born-again” President G. W. Bush, many feel they have been given a place in Heaven already so there are no consequences. Whether you’re atheist or Christian, you cannot assume your actions have no consequences.

Naked white men also forget this. They think it’s their right to expose their genitalia and the rest of the world should just deal with it. Like men who piss in public or teenagers who tell adults to fuck-off, it doesn’t benefit society, only that individual’s need for a high. Soon, males may decide to assert other prerogatives with their genitalia.

We recently had a series of rapes coming up 24th street from Potrero Hill through the MIssion and into Noe Valley. Do you think the rapist hadn’t heard of the selfish naked white men and everyone else just putting up with it? No, naked white men didn’t cause that black man to go rape women, but both are indicative of a lack of civility and of self centered behavior, just at different extremes. Is either good for society?

The problem with pride is it quickly becomes pridefulness – arrogance, vanity, an obsession with the self above others.


About Daniel Roddick

Daniel has a B.A. in American History with minors in both Ethnic Studies and Sociology. He also has an M.Ed. in College Administration and Counseling. Daniel has worked in the financial aid industry for over a decade. He has presented all over the country on financial aid issues related to equity, inclusion, and access to education. He is also a writer of poetry, fiction, and this blog, all of which touch on identity.
This entry was posted in Gender & Sexuality, Race & Ethnicity, Religion & Spirituality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Problem with Pride

  1. Pingback: Moral Relativism is Bias | Daniel Roddick

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