The United States is a nation that is comprised of people of many different backgrounds and origins.  Arguably — America’s diversity is it’s most renown quality, attracting individuals from every country, class, and religion.  In the PBS film, American Creed, Deidre Prevett, Principal of Lindbergh Elementary School, described America in this light, “… while we are a melting pot, we can’t forget where we’ve come from.”  In order to preserve the national identity that Prevett has described, American’s must accept the diversity that has formed this nation.  

The division within American culture is a fundamental problem that must be addressed.  We’re separated by class, religion, sexuality, gender, and political views.  Even our own government is divided by viewpoints.  A quote from the Pew Research Center of Politics and Policy perfectly describes the political divide, “The divisions within the Republican and Democratic coalitions may be as important a factor in American politics as the divisions between them.”  Even the individuals that control our nation have trouble working together.  Here lies the fundamental problem of unification in the the United States.

However on the other end of the spectrum, others believe that  America is a country built on unity.  Matt Sedensky of AP News claims, “We united over national pride (the flag and pop culture).”   This idea of unity sheds light on the idea that Americans, despite their differences, can unite over a common belief or interest.  Sedensky also adds, “Surveys find nearly all Americans believe in helping the less fortunate, in entrepreneurism and small business , and in public schools.”  Issues such as this, having a uniting factor within the United States.  However, is it enough to completely reunited America?  

Joel Achenbach and Scott Clement of the Washington Post disprove this idea of unity stating,  “On many racial issues, whites and blacks see different realities.”  The fact is the United States is broken into different groups, and each of these groups has different perspectives.  The divide has grown even stronger, especially in the political aspect. Achenbach and Clement continue by saying “… the percent of voters that are consistently liberal or conservative has double since 1994.”  Americans are becoming concrete in their views, allowing for little mobility.  The key to unity is to have individuals acknowledge the perspective of others, even if it does not necessarily agree with their own views.  

The priorities of Americans needs to be realigned, we are so consumed by our individual beliefs that we forget what exists outside of our bubble.  Sebastian Junger describes this individual mindset in his book Tribe, “The beauty and tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situation that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.”  Unity does not exist without every individual playing their role in helping others, otherwise known as “the collective good”.

For unification to exist in the United States every citizen must be willing to accept the differences that makeup our culture and country.  A true American is aware of the various groups that reside in the United States and is respectful and accepting of their viewpoints.  We can not be a united nation until we value the diversity that is prominent in our culture and identity as a country.  Unification is the first step in obtaining a country that is able function internally and externally.

CC BY-SA 4.0 What Does It Mean To Be American? by Heather is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

10 Comments
  1. Chea 4 months ago

    Dear Heather,

    I am moved by your post, “What Does It Mean To Be American?,” because I also feel the same way about America. Many people are not aware that America is not at its full potential, mainly because of conflicting views on different subjects such as religion, culture, etc… A solution to this huge problem America is facing would be for people to accept each other and be more open to other views.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me was: “The fact is the United States is broken into different groups, and each of these groups has different perspectives. The divide has grown even stronger, especially in the political aspect.” I think this is true because this something that I see often in society. People of the same race tend to stick together because they have common views on a certain subject. This division help the different groups strengthen their views even more.

    Another sentence that I thought was interesting was: “Sebastian Junger describes this individual mindset in his book Tribe, “The beauty and tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situation that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.” Unity does not exist without every individual playing their role in helping others, otherwise known as “the collective good”.” This quote stood out to me because I agree with what is stated. I believe we, as individuals, need to be more accepting toward each other in order to help making the country function well internally and externally.

    I do strongly agree with you that America is not at its full potential. One reason I say this is Americans are not working together to achieve a stronger nation, instead they are working against each other because of their conflicting views. Another reason I agree with you is mainly due to my observation of my surroundings. I see people disagreeing and hating on one another very often in news.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I enjoy reading other people’s views on neglected subjects such as America’s problems. I also like the way that you gave many examples to support your statement and to help describe the situation.

  2. Justin 4 months ago

    Dear, Heather

    I am in awe by your poem, “What does it mean to be American” because it talks about the diversity of america. It talks about the truths of how everybody wants to divide and segregate themselves into different groups. But to be seen as one we need to accept this diversity.

    One sentence you wrote that stand out to me is: “The fact is the United States is broken into different groups, and each of these groups has different perspectives.” This quote stands out to me because it is true because america is divided into to different groups. Each one of these groups views this country from different perspectives because it treats each group different.

    Another sentence that stood out to me was: “A true American is aware of the various groups that reside in the United States and is respectful and accepting of their viewpoints.” This quote stands out to me because a true american would realize that each person in America is part of a different group and acknowledges their view. They try to see the view of how the country has treated them and tries to see their view.

    I do agree with you that to be united you have to acknowledge the diversity. One reason I say this is because if you try to unite the country without acknowledging how each group views are it will only end with arguing. Another reason I agree with you is because america is a country made up of diversity. Like you said you would have to value it.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to to seeing what you write next because I like your viewpoints. Your writing shows how America should be debited and how it can be united. It shows how america can really be diverse.

  3. Darius C Hatcher 4 months ago

    Dear Heather,

    I am very glad about reading your post, “What Does It Mean To Be American?,” because I agree with what you say about people being too caught up in their own individual views. For American to be unified, people have to pay attention to what is going on around them and accept other people’s different views. One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “We’re separated by class, religion, sexuality, gender, and political views” I think this is true because there are many things that divide the country into the many groups that it has now. These groups create a problem for America. Another sentence that I noticed was: “For unification to exist in the United States every citizen must be willing to accept the differences that makeup our culture and country. ” This stood out for me because people need to accept their differences that come with the country and itś many different cultures, religions, races, etc. I do/don’t entirely agree with you that we need to value the diversity in the country. One reason I say this is because we can not be a united nation without this value of others viewpoints and way of life. Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because your post was very insightful and helpful for me to come up with my idea on what I think it means to be an American.

  4. Naila 4 months ago

    Dear Heather , I am fascinated by your post “what does it mean to be American “ because you pointed out very valid points and flaws about this country that others seem to ignore . One sentence that you wrote that stands out to me is
    We can not be a united nation until we value the diversity that is prominent in our culture and identity as a country. Unification is the first step in obtaining a country that is able function internally and externally. That was absolutely true . I agree with you because this country will never be united because of the simple fact that others do not accept people for who they hard . This makes it difficult for us to stick together as the “United States Of America “ that are we supposed to be . Thanks for writing I look forward to seeing what you write next .

  5. Mateo 6 months ago

    Dear Heather,

            I am intrigued by your post, “What Does It Mean To Be American?”, because it really points out the flaws this country has. You also have good and valid quotes to support your post. 
    

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “We’re separated by class, religion, sexuality, gender, and political views.” This stood out to me because that is so true. The world is changing everyday, and us as a society are slowly separating.

    Another sentence that I really enjoyed is: “A true American is aware of the various groups that reside in the United States and is respectful and accepting of their viewpoints.” This stood out because that is a wonderful solution and I think that’s what a true american is. You cannot be an american and not recognize other Americans.

    I don’t quite agree with you that “we are so consumed by our individual beliefs that we forget what exists outside of our bubble.” One reason I say this is because sometimes fear has a factor into how people interact. Another reason I disagree with you is because sometimes people just like to stick to what they’re use to.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because you make really valid points. You are also an intelligent writer.

  6. Lexa-Renae 6 months ago

    Dear Allison:

    I am very glad to have read your post “What Does It Mean To Be An American. That talks about how the priorities of americans need to be realigned for us to truly see what it takes to be an american. We have to become more united and accept all cultures as one.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is “The key to unity is to have individuals acknowledge the perspective of others, even if it does not necessarily agree with their own views.” I think this is a good idea because we cannot be one if we all believe that we show no relationship to others. If one is not of the same color we are considered not to be Americans. I believe we have to unite as one in order to become united americans we have to start there.

    Another sentence that I agreed with was “Unity does not exist without every individual playing their role in helping others, otherwise known as “the collective good”.” This stood out for me because it is true you can not become a well united american group if not everyone is united. People say it takes a team to build a village and just like it takes a team to build a village it takes a team to build a united america. A team that stands together is a team that stands strong.

    I do agree with when you said “On many racial issues, whites and blacks see different realities.” One reason I say this is because although both blacks and whites both wish to be successful and do great things and have peace amongst other things we can never seem to head that way together. The people of america can not view the world as of one viewpoint and with all the work happening I don’t believe we ever will. Another reason I agree with you is because we could exclude so many negative things about this world but just because we are of different colors some people believe our ideas would never cause a positive outcome.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because seeing how we could possibly change this and become more united little by little could possibly eventually create a big change for our world. If you have any ideas please write another article.

  7. Destiny7 9 months ago

    I feel like this article was pretty true on the fact that our country was created based on unity. I thought it was interesting when the author stated “ Even the individuals that control our nation have trouble working together. Here lies the fundamental problem of unification in the the United States”. I thought that quote was interesting because in order for the citizens of the united states to become united then the leaders of our country would have to united. Like the author stated there is so much division in the United States to the point of where there is no unity. The author also stated “In order to preserve the national identity that Prevett has described, American’s must accept the diversity that has formed this nation.” The author was also correct about this because when everyone came to the Americas nobody was from the Americas everyone came from other places. Everyone had their own culture, everyone looked differently, talked differently, and did things differently. So you can’t say that Americans have to be one certain person, look one way, talk one way, have one religion, and have one culture. Because the United States was not built on that fact. “The key to unity is to have individuals acknowledge the perspective of others, even if it does not necessarily agree with their own views.” This is also true because, everyone wants to have their own views on everything. Sometimes we need to be unified and think as one.

  8. Kyle 9 months ago

    Dear, Heather

    I am very glad about your post “What Does It Mean to be American” Because you made it clear that people have two clearly Different thoughts about What it means to be american by saying that it is built on unity and Diversity.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is you said Americans can unite for a common belief on purpose. I think this is true by the number of protest and rallies that happen when something people don’t agree

    Another sentence that I had in mind was “ For unification to exist in the U.S every citizen must be willing to accept the differences that makeup our culture and country” This stood out to me because it’s true that we all have to settle our differences and drop our grudges to completely unite.

    I really do agree with you that We are consumed by our individual beliefs and that everything else is unimportant outside our bubble. I agree because i am guilty of doing this myself and all the time at that.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because i like the way that you show that there are two sides to the U.S (Unity and diversity). Also, I like that your post had no errors.

    • Hui 4 months ago

      Dear Heather:

      I am fascinated by your post, “What Does It Mean To Be American?”, because it really points out the flaws of what this country has and I believe people should take a thought into it and actually think about what we can change as a whole to make American great again.

      One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “The division within American culture is a fundamental problem that must be addressed. We’re separated by class, religion, sexuality, gender, and political views. Even our own government is divided by viewpoints.” This stood out to me because the statement was very accurate. Most people in this world are being viewed by their skin color, their race and their sexuality. Like what the quote stated, we are “separated” by different categories and it is not okay because no one would be treated the same if we are being viewed differently.

      Another sentence that I was intrigued was: ““Unity does not exist without every individual playing their role in helping others, otherwise known as “the collective good”.” This statement is very true too because if the we don’t work together as a whole then nothing will be successful. Just like what the quote stated, “Unity does not exist without every individual playing their role in helping others” You can’t become a well team if not everyone is united. It takes a team to make an united America and a team where we stay together that stands strong and powerful.

      I do agree with you when you stated, “On many racial issues, whites and blacks see different realities.” One reason I say this is that although both whites and blacks wants to be successful and wealthy, we would never see them work together as a whole in peace. Because of people’s different viewpoint on things, they would not be satisfied. Another reason I agree with you is how much we are consumed by our individual beliefs. Us, people are so selfish and self-centered that we don’t see the importances that’s outside of our own bubble. We only care about what’s our problem rather than thinking the whole issue itself.

      Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because it’s very interesting and engaging to read about. I believe that if we are more united, things would start to change little and little and maybe it would eventually happen.

  9. Mari2324 9 months ago

    Dear: Allison
    I am not from America but a lot of what you are saying are similar to my race. And my race and Americans are not even close to my race. One thing you said was America is built on unity so was my country. I do agree with you on some points you make.

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