I think what the late and great comedian George Carlin said in his final stand-up special, It’s Bad For Ya (2008), makes a good point:
“I saw a slogan on a guys car that said “Proud to be an American” and I thought “What the fuck does that mean?”
I’m fully Irish, and when I was a kid I would go to the St Patrick’s Day parade and they sold a button that said “Proud to be Irish”, but I knew that on Columbus day they sold the same button only it said “Proud to be Italian”, then came Black Pride, and Puerto Rican Pride. And I could never understand national or ethnic pride, because to me Pride should be reserved for something you achieve on your own.
Being Irish isn’t a skill, it’s a fucking genetic accident.”
Whenever someone comes up to me with matters about pride, I think 2 things:
A.) A now-defunt Japanese mixed martial arts organization (Sakuraba vs. The Gracies. Look ’em up.)
B.) National Pride
Being a Filipino, I hear the latter flung around like a basketball at a UAAP Ateneo-La Salle game. Not one day goes by that I don’t hear that term by some lowlife with a double digit IQ and a broadband connection. I can’t get through the week without someone spouting off some nonsense about being proud to be associated with a certain group of people just because they were placed into such groups.
There’s nothing wrong with having pride, especially when it’s because a person achieved a goal or an award. There’s nothing wrong with being proud OF Megan Young for winning the crown as Miss Philippines, nor is there anything wrong with being proud OF Manny Pacquiao/Gilas Pilipinas for beating an opponent in representing the Philippines in their respective sports. But having anything in extreme is a bad thing, and being proud to be a genetic accident is probably one of the worst. Sadly, the Philippines is chockfull of the latter.
Before anyone gets any idea that I’m just being ignorant in singling out the Philippines, please understand that I know there are other places with misplaced people and misplaced pride. I know this. However, I’ve lived in the Philippines for 19 years and I don’t know the stature of the pride other countries have as much as I know the warped reality of “Pinoy Pride”. Also, I’m a former “Pinoy Pridist” myself. I used to beat my chest over the littlest things Pinoy-related and completely hate on anything contradictory to Philippine Pride. So I type as a convert, not as someone from a holier-than-thou standpoint.
I say this a lot, “Be proud of, but not BECAUSE of.” The problem with Filipino pride is that Filipino Pridists tend to take any achievement made by a Filipino and use that as a means to make them feel special and put themselves on a pedestal over everyone else, then when the Philippines tastes defeat, Pridists proceed to bash, insult and offend the ones who beat us (Case in point, The Iranian team beating Gilas Pilipinas earier this year in FIBA 2013) . They rage on and on to anyone who makes jokes about the Philippines (Katherine Ryan), any observations made about the Philippines or even valid statements that weren’t even made on the purposes of disparagement.
One example is the events that followed the FIBA 2013 games wherein the Iran Basketball team beat the Philippine “Gilas Pilipinas” team. To basically sum it up, here’s an image I found of Iranian team member Hamed Haddadi’s Facebook page and how exactly Pridists show their sportsmanship, maturity and hospitality:
So, what exactly IS proper pride, and how should Filipinos apply it?
In my opinion, proper pride is being proud of someone minus clinging onto that certain someone as if their achievement was everyone’s achievement and their success was because of their nationality. Manny Pacquiao won because he trained and fought the hardest, not because he’s Filipino. Megan Young won because of hard work, not because she’s Filipino. Jessica Sanchez made it far in the American Idol because she worked hard, not because she’s Filipino. THEIR hard work is not OUR badge. WE didn’t fight those fights, MANNY PACQUIAO did. FILIPINOS didn’t walk that catwalk, MEGAN YOUNG did. THE PHILIPPINES didn’t take center stage and sing their throats hoarse, JESSICA SANCHEZ did.
Filipinos need to learn that PROPER pride is being proud of someone’s achievements. To back our own, while being good sports in return. We can’t win all the time, but to go out and slander the name of the true victors just shows immaturity and lack of class. Applaud the efforts of both teams, while being the mature ones and raising the hand of those who beat us fair and square.
Be proud of, not BECAUSE of.