Gay Pride. Jewish Pride. Black pride. Hispanic Pride.
Ethnic pride. Minority rights vs. tyranny of the majority.
For a generation, America has been awash in the celebration of minorities and minorities celebration of themselves. Just recall Black is Beautiful or I am a woman, I am invincible.
At the same time, the majority group in America -- white Christians -- has been allowed to celebrate very little. Rather, they have constantly been reminded of what they should be ashamed of -- their racism, sexism, homophobia, patriarchy, and xenophobia -- real and alleged.
But what about minority shame?
Why does one almost never hear expressions of group shame from members of any American group other than white Christians (specifically, white Christian male heterosexuals)? Are the only evildoers in America white male heterosexual Christians? Is there something inherently wrong about members of minorities expressing anything but group pride? Are there no minority sins worthy of shame? The latter is in fact the argument advanced by many intellectuals concerning black racism, for example. For a generation, college students have been taught that it is impossible for blacks to be racist because only the racial group in power, i.e. whites, can express racism.
Of course, that is nonsense. A black can be a racist just as a white can be one. A minority race might not have the power to implement racist national policies but that hardly means that no minority group, or any individual, can be a racist.
All this came to mind recently when, by coincidence, I read two things about the minority group of which I am a member -- Jews. I just completed reading Anthony Beevors The Fall of Berlin 1945, in which the author writes that in the midst of the massive rape of German women (millions of girls and women of all ages) by Red Army troops, Jewish officers in the Red Army were known to be the one group that protected German girls and women. In Beevors words, Red Army officers who were Jewish went out of their way to protect German women and girls.
I fully admit to a sense of Jewish pride when I read that.
The next day I read a news report that because of the objections of one kindergartners mother, a public school in North Carolina had banned the singing of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer because the song contained the word Christmas. I blame the school officials first and foremost for this craven and foolish decision. But when the news report noted that the woman was Jewish, my heart sank. Just as I had read the Beevor report and felt a surge of Jewish pride, I read the North Carolina story and felt a surge of Jewish shame.