In Chapter 11, Ponyboy says he hopes the Socs hate him and his fellow greasers rather than pitying them. He says, "I hoped they hated us, that they weren't full of that pity-the-victims-of-environment junk the social workers kept handing Curly Shepard every time he got sent off to reform school." If the Socs hate Ponyboy and his family and friends, he thinks it means the Socs consider them worthy rivals worthy of hate. If they pity him, that would mean they consider him lesser in some way.
Ponyboy already feels he, his brothers, and the rest of the greasers do not measure up to the Socs because the greasers are from the "wrong" side of town—the poorer side where people don't usually have the opportunity to go to college. As Ponyboy says in Chapter 11:
We live in kind of a lousy neighborhood and our house isn't real great. It's run-down looking and everything, and the inside's kind of poor-looking, too, even though for a bunch of boys we do a pretty good job of house-cleaning.
Although Ponyboy and his brothers are poor, they do everything they can to protect their dignity. They try to keep their house clean, and Darry pushes Ponyboy to achieve what he can. Fighting the Socs is another way the Greasers try to maintain their dignity. If others pity them, Ponyboy would lose face and start to feel that his dignity was slipping. In addition, if people such as social workers pity them, it implies that something is wrong with them and the way they live. Ponyboy does not feel that the way in which he, his family, and his friends live is wrong.