An American is someone who is driven and inspired by their dreams even when presented with obstacles that attempt to prevent you from achieving those dreams. In Hidden Figures, there are three women who are perfect models for what an American should be defined as and the hard work and dedication these women put on display is exactly what I would say is the most important aspect of an American. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson are three of many African American women calculators who perform math calculations for NASA. Over the course of the novel, all three women face obstacles preventing them from pursuing their dreams due to the fact that they are African American women. They all keep fighting through the discrimination and get closer and closer to their aspirations. They demonstrate the determination needed for an American to strive in this nation.
Another source I found over the course of our studies on what it means to be an American are the root documents of this nation; The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and more specifically the Preamble and Bill of Rights. All of these documents show in words the core beliefs and potential values all Americans should possess and that Americans possessing these makes the country what it is today. Our founding fathers built this country on the belief that the country they were apart of didn’t satisfy the needs of the people. Therefore they set out, through adversities, and built a country suited for it’s people. The founding fathers documented the needs of the people that would set this nation apart from the rest of the world and I feel it is these core values that are what defines an American.
The third source that I found to be the most supportive of my opinion was the documentary American Creed from PBS and Citizen Film forthcoming in 2018. The main ideas I gained from it were unity, community, and cooperation. In our country, immigrants flood in with hope that they will have a brighter future in this country. All Americans have a background that dates back to immigrants at one point on their family tree. The problem that I found to occur is that current citizens reject immigrants and attempt to force them out of the country. A quality that all Americans need to have is the nature to be accepting of others, no matter their racial and ethnic background. Once one has learned to work with others, through adversities, driven by their aspirations and beliefs, then they have truly become an American.
- Shetterly, Margot L. Hidden Figures. New York City, William Morrow and Company, 2016.
- American Creed. Citizen Film and PBS. 2018.
What does it mean to be American? by James is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.