United States and Common Identity

Topics: United States, Race and Ethnicity, Meaning of life Pages: 3 (982 words) Published: May 30, 2014
Yvette Macias
English 103

Who and what is an American?

American culture is a mixture of cultural diversity and a shared common identity which leads many to wonder what aspect should be of main focus, or at what cost does our cultural differences have to be sacrificed in order to establish a common identity. Many people dream about being an American because they envision America as the land of prosperity, peace and unity. Is it really? America is yet to be a united place of prosperity and peace when everyone who is part of it is in constant battle with one another. Instead of being united and prosper as one, we create labels and barriers that divide each other. The importance of being united has lost its value because everyone has forgotten what being an American is all about. America is supposed to be all about the unity of people; everyone putting their differences aside and coming together as one, but instead, we are in constant reminder of the divisions and barriers that surround us. The limitations and rights and wrongs are what make America; the diversity in cultures and race are far from it. The importance of social standing, race, rich or poor, the kind of car a person drives, are all elements that create this concept of what an American should be. Being wealthy, living in a nice home, having a high salary paying job is what we call the “American Dream”, but what does that even mean? This type of image we are encouraged to live by is what has caused this misinterpretation of the word American. Being an American means being proud of your nationality and embracing your differences. Forming relationships with people outside of your circle and creating bonds that unite you to someone else that is also part of this country. Like Lapham says in his article, “Who and What are American”, “ the noun apparently means nothing unless it is dressed up with at least one modifying adjective.” (Lapham, 558) The point he makes is that we label people...

Cited: Young, Joy, and Randall Bass. "Lewis Lapham: Who and What Is American?" Beyond Borders: A Cultural Reader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. N. pag. Print.
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