The country that we live in the United states of America is home to many different cultures, beliefs, and people.  I think that being diverse is what makes our country truly ours. Being how we are makes it extremely difficult to describe American culture. I strongly believe that even if we are different, that shouldn’t determine how we are treated or the opportunities given to us.  

America has many different cultures, beliefs, and people which makes it hard to describe what american culture is. For example Kim Ann Zimmermann said that “The United States is sometimes described as a “melting pot” in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct “flavors” to American culture” (Zimmermann 4). This describes America as being full of a variety of different culture, which makes it really hard to define american culture itself.

Not everyone has equal opportunity to succeed despite what it says in the Declaration of Independence (US 1776) that everyone should have equal opportunity to succeed in the America. I believe that everyone doesn’t currently have that opportunity. Sherman Alexie talked about this in his document describing his childhood “Superman and me.” In this he stated that failure was accepted inside his reservation, and that you would just follow in your parents footsteps. Alexie also talked about living and going to school on the reservation, which wasn’t getting him anywhere. In order to expand his mind he had to look and find more books to read. Later on, he states that he never had a writer or poet come into class and talk like he does now to try to guide kids in the right direction. This shows how in America, people from all around with different backgrounds aren’t getting the chances that other people in this nation are getting. This is going against one of the key things that is stated in Declaration of Independence that everyone should be given the same opportunity to succeed in our capitalist economy.

In addition to, our justice system despite our background or the color of our skin, we should all be treated equally. In the book, “Black and White,” the plot focuses on the clear divide between people of color and caucasians, and how are treated by our justice system. Eddie, who is caucasian and Marcus, who is black, are best friends with bright futures, with basketball scholarships that are just waiting to be signed. They ruin their chances by doing a few stickups that later get both of them caught, but Marcus takes the brunt of it.  In the book they go over how black people are often stopped by cops or victimized by some of the people in their community. One instance is when they are on a subway train on the way to their game when they come across someone that says “Stupid n*****s, you’re all the same. Go back to the f*****’ jungle,”(Volponi 101). This man saw colored people as second class citizens which is wrong we are all equal. Throughout the book, there is a struggle for fair treatment in the justice system, which relates to my point that equality in America, should mean equality to all, no matter the color of someone’s skin.

I believe that you can’t define American culture because of its “melting pot” structure. I also believe that in our society today, equal opportunity isn’t being properly enforced in some places, which makes it hard for kids to make something of themselves in our capitalist economy. Finally, the justice system should treat people based on their crime, not by the color of their skin. To conclude, I don’t believe that you can define American culture, beliefs and creeds because there is such variety of things that can define it which makes it nearly impossible to define what each of those mean to each and every individual in America. Also it should be a given right that everyone should have the same opportunity to succeed, no matter who they are or where they come from. In addition equality should always be instated anywhere and everywhere in America, especially in our justice system where I believe that you can’t judge someone on the color of their skin, or where they come from, or how they talk. Which I think is constantly happening.    

Volponi, Paul. Black and White. Viking, 2005.

Zimmermann, Kim. “American Culture:Traditions and Customs of the United States.” livescience. https://www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html

Sherman, Alexie. “Superman and Me”. Los Angeles Times, April 19 1998.

Tags:

CC BY-SA 4.0 What is American Culture? Some inequalities in America by Bryant is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Comment Here

2 Comments
  1. Reilly 12 months ago

    Bryant,
    I enjoyed the points that you made on culture and opportunity in America. I agree that American culture is difficult to succinctly define. Historically, America is a “melting pot” of multiple different cultures from across the globe. This makes “American culture” itself a whole other entity. Whereas a cultures such as French or Chinese bring up specific images in your mind instantaneously, America does not. Currently, America is also largely divided on our beliefs. For example, the country has never seen a greater divide between the beliefs of conservatives and liberals, which in turn causes certain social structures to occur in different areas of the country. This leaves people more divided amongst all aspects, rather than feeling united in their common American culture. In your opinion, do you think that America is currently more divided than we have been in the past? Opportunity in America also largely varies. Where one city, such as Seattle, may have a high upward mobility rate, other areas, such as Atlanta, have very low upward mobility rates. For this reason, the family that you are born into and where you grow up play large roles in determining how likely you are to succeed. I researched an article detailing the myth of equal opportunity in our nation, and I think that you would enjoy it. https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/equal-opportunity-our-national-myth/
    Good job on the post!
    -Reilly E.

  2. Maggie 12 months ago

    Bryant,
    I really like your post. It brings up very good and interesting points. There are many things that make America its own individual country but some of these ideals aren’t lived up too. What do you think that some of these ideals are? Do you personally believe that everyone should have equal opportunity to succeed or do you think that there are some cases where people don’t? I agree with your point about the color of our skin and how that effects our ability to be treated equally. I also agree with your last statement on how you don’t think you can define American Culture because of its “melting pot” characteristics. I found this article on America’s ‘melting pot’. I think reading this could help define America in a broad way. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436347/america-melting-pot-immigrant-culture-made-country-great This post was very good. I hope to see more.
    -Maggie

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CONTACT US

We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: