In reality, American means that you are part of a country with lots of different lifestyles and backgrounds. The photography series “The Way North” by Damien Cave and Todd Heisler helps show this characteristic of the nation. Throughout his travels up highway Interstate 35, he meets and interviews lots of different people from different backgrounds, lots of them being born or having close relatives in another country. As one man says: “It’s diversity. Pakistan is all Pakistanis: They look the same, they dress the same. Here it’s people from all different cultures, and I like that.” (Kanwal Mehmud). Here it’s clear that one quality of the United States that people consider is the different people that live in it. It also furthers this statement by comparing it to other countries; as the speaker says there aren’t as many different people in Pakistan. It fact it is useless to say the United States is diverse without proving that it is more diverse than other countries.
I aspire that to everyone, American can represent being a hard worker and supporting those around you. It should mean standing up for things you believe in. In the speech by Russell Means addressed to the Senate, he acknowledges the fact that Native Americans have been historically oppressed and today are still not being treated as true Native Americans. “In these United States of America, this great country of ours, we American Indians, we can be anything we want to be except American Indians…” (Means). This helps reinforce the idea that it is important for Americans to stand up what they believe in. In this case, Russell Means strongly believes that it’s important for Native Americans to be able to achieve more and succeed in life. He also believes that the government should allow Native Americans to practice cultural traditions they are otherwise prohibited to do due to property laws. His whole speech helps exemplify how it is important to him, and lots, as an American to stand up to change things that we believe in.
American Literature signifies writing that is written in the United States of America, or about the United States of America. The Newsroom episode is a piece of American Literature that helps encompass the idea of what it means to be an American citizen. In addition, the video Marine Life in the Midwest is a great example of American Literature as it is all about what being American is. These pieces help show how you can identify a work as “American Literature” by its discussion of America, and is often produced or written in America (although it is not necessary).
Means, Russell. “Statement to the Senate Special Committee on Indian Affairs” 30 January 1989, Washington, D.C. American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank.
“Marine Life in the Midwest.” Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/marine-life-midwest-tegan-griffith.
“The Way North.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 May 2014, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/us/the-way-north.html?_r=0#p/39.
Image from “The Way North,” https://int.nyt.com/data/bigmiddle/media/2014/05/CarKids.jpgTags: American CreedBerkeley High School
What does American Mean? by Peter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.