Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Proud to be Whatever I Want

Stupidity is like a black hole – nothing good ever comes out of it. That’s why I’m proud to be a philosopher, regardless of how inept I might be. I’m proud to have made a choice that involves me thinking about things instead of mindlessly caving into the words that carelessly fall out of people’s mouths, like, “I’m proud to be Irish!”

Is it okay to be proud of something you don’t have a choice in being? It’s the same, if seemingly opposite, of me saying, “I’m ashamed to be American.” Why should the accident of my geographical location at my time of birth factor into who I am proud or not proud to be? It’s not my fault most other Americans are idiots and proud of it. I can’t be ashamed over something I have no control over. Of course, I might say I’m ashamed to be an American if some jibber-jabber-jihadist was about to cut my head off, but I wouldn’t actually mean it; I’m American as a matter of fact. That fact is neither here nor there.

Oddly enough, or perhaps as expected, when someone claims to be proud of their heritage or ethnicity, they are never much able to say exactly why being something like Irish is so great. Or, when they can recite some glowing attributes, can never say what horrible things have gone hand-in-hand with all that goodness. Plus, if everyone’s Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, what good is actually being Irish? It’s not like one can drink more alcohol because they’re Irish; every ethnicity claims to be the best drinkers. But the best drinkers, it turns out, are those who practice at it, like writers. Being a good drinker doesn’t require special genes, just a willingness towards self-destruction. That willingness is a choice.

Don’t be proud of your ethnicity or heritage. Ultimately, you are not your ethnicity and heritage; that’s a call others want you to make for the sake of primitive tribalism. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this question: Is my ethnicity or heritage relevant when no one else is around? Didn’t think so. Here’s an idea: Be who you want to be. Followers need not apply.

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