Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pride and Shame Must be Recognised in Equal Measure

Many people will attempt to negate the grievances of native peoples and other oppressed minority groups by saying "I wasn't there, how could it be my fault?"
Which in many respects is a fair point. 
However they will in the same breathe often say "I am proud of my heritage" and list the successes and achievements of people of their race, ethnicity or national identity. (As if achievements are a racial issue anyway...)
I can however understand being justifiably proud of our forebears. As a Pakeha New Zealander I do feel a fondness, and yes a pride for the tough men that went before me into this country and fashioned a life for themselves through grit, determination and hard work. This for me is more of a pride in my own familial line - one that is distinctly anchored in the working classes - but I grant that for many it is a pride in one's race and ones ethnicity. 

But this pride may be misplaced if it isn't mirrored by at least an equal measure of appreciation of the negative aspects of our respective cultures, and of injustices that were committed. 

the catch cry of "I wasn't there...it's not my fault!" is equally applicable to the successes and achievements of those of the same race, ethnicity or national identity that went before. 

I didn't personally cheat or swindle land off anyone, but nor did I with my own hands build the fledgling infrastructure that helped to make this the nation it is now. 
Neither the good, nor the bad was by my own hand and so I have 2 choices: I either leave both firmly in the past, or I appreciate both the rights and wrongs of the past, with part pride and initially some shame, honouring the entire morphology of my familial roots, stretching back in time. 
And come to a point when I am able to forgive those that have gone before, of all races, for their errors and honouring ALL people, simply people (not races) for their achievements. 

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