What is America, it is a country and a home to many but the bigger question is what does it mean to be American? To me being American means that everyone is free and equal  in the sense of not being treated like property but everyone is not held to the same equal standards, or given the same equal opportunities. During Reconstruction, this idea was demonstrated when the 13th amendment was established. This amendment  abolished slavery, so blacks were not treated like property and they could not be bought and owned. That was just one of the many obstacles that African Americans faced, this was the start to a fight that blacks are still fighting today. African Americans weren’t given the same opportunities to make a living and survive like their previous white owners. They had to work way harder just to get a third of what the white man had. This shows that even though African Americans were free, they did not have equal opportunities,  because… they were black. They were now free from being bought and sold, and they were free from the chains but they were not free from the mistreatment of the white man. Similarly, events in modern times illustrate that a white man is still held higher on the totem pole of society, and has more rights than a black man because of their race. A black man that had shot and killed a police dog was sentenced to 45 years in prison, but a police officer was let free after killing a black man on purpose and planting a gun in the man’s car to make it look like it was necessary. This goes to show how African Americans are still mistreated by society. They are not given the benefit of the doubt when they deserve it, and because of that they are always on the losing side. These events share many commonalities because in a way the same thing is happening today. An African American is put into a system that has set them up to fail, an example being the legal system and their racist, stereotypical ways. No matter what the African American will always be looked at as bad, unworthy and dangerous. Society shows that not all people are given the same equal opportunities. Not only are they not given the same equal opportunities but they are also put at the bottom of the totem pole in importance. In conclusion to be American means to be a citizen of the United States. But it also mean that you will have to go through many things in life. Your struggle might be harder than someone of a different color, but it’s not just race that separates the United states. Everything you see, live, breathe and feel with be based off of your race, color, religion, sexual orientation, and/or political stance. This is what it mean to be American to me, making everyone’s life different. No one lives the same life, so no one will understand your struggle but you. This is what it means to be American to me, based off of what I see, live, breathe, and feel.


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

  1. Raymond 2 years ago

    Nyleeah, your article points out a frustrating issue affecting our society today. I believe that this issue will continue to reside within the American society for many more generations to come, but I also believe that the younger generations are becoming more tolerant and open to others, and I am hoping that this attitude will only continue to create a more equal home for all. The issue of race is far worse in American than in almost any other first world country, and it is attributed to the evolution of our perception of the roles of race in our society.
    13th was a fantastic documentary depicting the change in attitudes towards African Americans, and I think you will find it interesting, if you have not seen it already. https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/10/ava-duvernay-13th-netflix/503075/

  2. Ed 2 years ago


    Nice post. This is a persisting issue with no clear solution, but you make strong points. It will always be difficult to understand what someone else really goes through, but many Americans are unknowingly in similar situations to their fellow citizens. This is a country that was founded on the binding of cultures under a common roof, but we often fall away from that today. For the country to remain together and intact our people must continue to accept and embrace people different from themselves.

    Thank you for your writing

  3. Sam 2 years ago

    This indeed is an important issue that needs to be addressed. The United States prides itself on diversity as well as equality. However, true equality is not being properly attained by everybody. The unfair treatment of minorities is unacceptable; it goes against our nation’s most prized quality of freedom and equality. Your post brought about some good points that put a new perspective on this issue.

  4. Zachary 2 years ago

    This is a very cool article and I like it a lot. This is a very prevalent issue that is facing our country today. We do have to make a change in the way that we treat people that are different from us in our country today. This brings a lot of ideas to mind about how we can do so.
    Zach Jerome

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