by J. Pharoah Doss, For New Pittsburgh Courier
When I was a teenager, I read in the Sunday paper the KKK was planning a rally in a big city. The opinion writer argued that the city shouldn’t grant the KKK a permit to parade around and promote bigotry. The city officials didn’t want to waste resources protecting the KKK from counter-demonstrators and refused to grant the permit.
I showed the newspaper to my father. He said, the KKK had a right to march. But counter-demonstrating was counterproductive. It would give the KKK the publicity they desperately sought. The best thing to do was to ignore them.
I disagreed and sided with the counter-demonstrators.
The ACLU took up the KKK’s plight and the KKK had their rally. I saw it on the news. There were hundreds of counter-demonstrators behind police barricades shouting expletives while a KKK speaker addressed a crowd of less than 35 White supremacists. A couple of counter-demonstrators got arrested trying to bust through the police barricade.
It was ridiculous.
The city officials foresaw the commotion, but violated the KKK’s first amendment rights by trying to prevent it. The counter-demonstrators felt it was their duty to express their disapproval of a KKK rally in their city, but were their actions a counter-demonstration or a direct confrontation?
Recently, the Washington Post ran this headline: It’s LBGT pride month, but three guys in Boston want a permit for a “Straight Pride Parade.”
There’s a group called “Super Happy Fun America.” It’s a combination of the two factions in the previous example. Like the KKK, they have few supporters, and they’re planning a summer event to counter Boston’s LGBT Pride month.
According to Boston Magazine, Mark Sahady, vice president of “Super Happy Fun America,” has organized counter-demonstrations in the past. In 2017 Sahady organized a “Rally for the Republic” which drew less than 100 people. In 2018 Sahady organized a pro-gun rally to protest March For Our Lives, the nationwide march for stricter gun policies after the Parkland, Fla. school shooting that killed 17 people.
Now, Sahady filed a discrimination complaint with the city and Boston officials are working with the group on a “Straight Pride Parade.” Sahady’s group believes straight people are an “oppressed majority.” Sahady stated the event is a response to the identity politics of the left, and “this is our chance to have a patriotic parade in Boston as we celebrate straight pride.”
But a social psychologist would see straight through Sahady’s boast of patriotism.
Psychologists say pride has two antithetical meanings. The term in the LGBT’s Pride Parade refers to the consciousness of dignity, worth of praise, and a fulfilled sense of belonging. Sahady’s use of the term means an irrational and corrupt sense of one’s own status. This type of pride is synonymous with hubris, meaning: Extreme pride, dangerous overconfidence combined with arrogance.
Philosophers have debated for centuries whether or not pride was a vice or a virtue.
The mayor of Boston said, “The city of Boston cannot deny a permit based on an organization’s values.”
But when pride is a vice, the ability to ignore becomes a virtue.
(J. Pharoah Doss is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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