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.

3 Comments
  1. Destiny7 1 week 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.

  2. Kyle 1 week 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.

  3. Mari2324 1 week 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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