There’s something I hear occasionally in different contexts, and it never fails to piss me off.

“I’m proud to be X”, where X is an element of a set of races, genders, sexual orientations, nations and similar, presumably immutable properties.

If you didn’t do anything to earn it, what exactly are you proud of?

By definition you didn’t deserve it. You just found yourself having those attributes and properties and you had to deal with it. Where does pride come into play, exactly?

Being proud of an immutable property makes as little sense as being ashamed of it. It makes sense to be proud or ashamed of something you did. For instance, you learned how to code in c++. Good for you, that’s something you can be proud of. But to be proud of being born a certain way? You didn’t do anything. What’s there to be proud of? You can be happy or displeased with what you got, because that’s a function of relative comparison of one’s properties against the properties of others. If you have a high IQ, or if you look good, that’s something to be happy about, but proud? I don’t get how you can be proud of looking good, as if you personally designed yourself and it turned out well. No, you just lucked out.

There is a possible counter-argument, I know. If you happen to identify as a member of a certain group, and that group as a collective did something good or bad relative to other groups, you can have emotional reactions. This can be as trivial as your national football team having done well in the world championship, or something as nefarious as your nation having committed genocide and lost the world war. Still, there’s a problem: if you didn’t actually play football in the world championship, what exactly are you proud of? Someone else did well, and you identify with the same collective entity? Someone else killed people and you live in the same country 60 years later and that somehow connects the two? Those collective identities exist, they can be felt, they are real, but that doesn’t make them any less stupid.

I can’t feel any kind of pride about being white, or being a man. Honestly, I can’t. It’s like being born a chicken and being proud of your feathers. The general situation of being a chicken is alarming and tragic, if anything, and if that happened to you, and you were proud because you’re a female chicken that can lay eggs and all the roosters want to fuck you, I can’t see that as a sign of intelligence for the life of me.

Maybe I just suck at identifying with a species of ape, or with particular territorial divisions within the species, but for the most part, I see all those identifications and divisions as most people probably see identifications and divisions between species of chickens.