I was educated in the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. We had a saying there which I really like. It is, “Notice the differences; focus on the similarities.”
Part of the emphasis of my training there, was the fact that we cannot change those characteristics that we have no control over. I’m talking about skin color, race, and national origin, etc. To say one is proud of their skin color, or where they came from, is putting the focus in the wrong place. When you focus on the differences, you automatically have to focus on the problems that come from those differences. If you focus on the similarities, you are looking for ways to further the unity and the problems become less of an importance.
Fasisal Saeed Al Mutar lives in Iraq. He has seen the real consequences of war. As the old western expression goes, “he’s been there and skinned um.” He knows firsthand. I consider him my friend.
He has written this great article titles Proud? Pround of What Exactly? In it, he quotes George Carlin, “I could never understand ethnic or national pride. Because to me pride should be reserved for something you achieve or attain on your own, not something that happens by birth.”
He does an excellent job of pointing out that we should reserve pride for something we accomplish rather than something we have no control over.
To quote him, “If Marie Curie ever said “I am proud of what I have done,” YES, she is using the term correctly! Because what she had is really compatible with the actual definition of pride! I hope that one day people would use pride and respect where they should be, and not something that they can delude themselves and others about.”
Go and read his wonderful article. You won’t be disappointed.
It is located here. http://tinyurl.com/8py6wje