In recent years, the idea that racial or ethnic pride can be positive has grown in popularity, even as popular sentiment has turned increasingly against racism and ethnocentrism. Being able to celebrate our differences (racial or ethnic dignity) without acting on them in a prideful, negative way (racism or ethnocentrism) seems more possible today than at any time in American history. Yet today there is also growing concern that our differences are not just cause for celebration, but grounds for separation, among other things with the goal of pursuing political agendas. From affirming the racial identities of schoolchildren to stoking the racial, cultural and religious conflicts that divide Bosnia and other nations (including the United States), racial and ethnic pride have historically been forces for both good and evil depending on how they were defined. Pride as dignity is the act of giving oneself a basic level of self-worth, which every human is allotted based on our modern concept of equality. Pride in one's race or ethnicity as superior, by contrast, challenges the modern concept of equality. Such definitions are not just semantic as racial and ethnic dignity lets us celebrate our individuality without sacrificing unity as a whole, while racial and ethnic pridefulness divides us by color, kin or creed. A large portion of this country’s history has been dedicated to eliminating these divisions, most recently through things like the civil rights movement. Current trends focusing on racial identity pose a risk of undoing these efforts and returning us to a nation that is separate and unequal, this time by choice rather than by force.
Keywords: racial/ethnic pride, racial/ethnic dignity, racism, ethnocentrism, equality