If it is irrational to belittle or berate someone solely based on the color of skin or ethnic background, why is it any less irrational to celebrate someone for the same reasons?
February is “Black History Month.” Hispanic heritage is usually celebrated in September, and Irish look to St. Patrick’s Day while Italians celebrate Columbus Day. It is one thing for the media to report on racial and ethnic advocacy days and months, but it is quite another thing to celebrate these moments as the media does.
The question I have is why? The media is supposed to look at things dispassionately or, do I dare say, logically. What is the logic of celebrating human characteristics that people can’t control?
Let’s take Black History Month. During the month, the media focuses on the achievements of specifically people with black skin. Of course doing so begs the question: did they achieve something great in life solely because they have black skin? That’s what the implication is, and if blacks who achieved did so because of their skin color, then why haven’t all black people achieved greatness?
The same can be said for celebrating ethnic heritage. I am half Irish and half Polish, and I had nothing to do with either half. I also am white, and while I am not proud of it; I also am not ashamed of it either. How can I have pride or shame over the skin color with which I was born? It is not an achievement to be white, black, Irish, Polish, Jewish, Chinese or any other race or nationality. If it is, I’d like someone to tell me how you achieve whiteness or blackness. I did not achieve whiteness; I was born that way. I don’t know anyone who has achieved whiteness, with the possible exception of the late Michael Jackson.
I understand that there is a legitimate emotional component to celebrating racial or ethnic heritage if certain people once felt the sting of being put down or discriminated against solely for one’s skin color or nationality, but as I said beforehand, that is irrational. So while it might be a momentary emotional lift for someone to say that he or she is proud to be black or white or Irish or Mexican, there is no logic in considering it to be an achievement.
It appears that our modern day media seems more concerned about pandering to racial and ethnic groups than in examining the rationale for racial or ethnic pride. In my lifetime, I’ve come to know many wonderful and accomplished people of all races, colors and ethnic backgrounds, and until someone can prove otherwise, I don’t think their skin color or heritage had much to do with their success.