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What Does It Mean To Be American

Updated on March 9, 2013

I have always thought of an American simply as someone who lived here. I have never really thought of people as immigrants or outsiders, because I figure if they are here, they have just as much right to the land as I do. I have never really understood the reasoning behind keeping people out of a country, that was basically taken by immigrants. A country that was built on outsiders, it really seems silly to try to differentiate who is who. Almost everyone in America came from another country, so if you are here, to me, you are American.

I am ¾ Native American and a ¼ German and I can’t say that I have held any culture from the German part. With many of my family here to begin with, I feel my culture is here and always has been here. My family acknowledges their Native American heritage, as do I.

National identity unites Americans in time of war and struggle, however it seems that there always have to be groups within the group. Within America, there are groups of people, some groups are made by cultural and ethnicity, other times by status, a lot like the hellish years spent in high school. In all team spirit was felt during a football game, every other day the cliques clash. American’s national identity is so vast, that it seems to enable prejudice even further by so many different options.

With September 11th, there was a very distinct change in the way people acted, people were proud to American. However, in some people’s pride in our country became almost a requirement. Some people viewed anything that went against the president to be un-American and anyone against actions taken, did not love the country. While the bringing together was a positive in my eyes, the extremist made it almost ridiculous. These drastic highs and lows have been a main stay of our country and maybe the very reason for it’s existence, is the biggest fuel of prejudice.

My concept of what it means to be American has not changed, but it did add less understanding of what this country means. We seem to be a hypocritical country that has a lack of standard culture. As the vast differences of each American, makes this country so rich, it is breaking the country at the seams. Americans are those that come here in search of a better life, to a land full of possibilities. As the settlers that first came to this land and stayed, everyone else should have the same right. So everyone here is American.


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      6 years ago

      Hi there Kaiyan717,

      I describe myself as a nationalist which means that I'm against globalism and the merging of world governments. However I believe in American ideals and that anyone who wants to live here can - I just don't think that we've had enough time or put enough effort into creating a culture we can call our own yet. Anytime it seems someone is asked what American culture is they always point to some aspect of popular culture. But look at Europe - each country is rich with legends, kings, queens, uprisings, religious tradition, language, art, etc. We here in America are mostly are united by our common ideas as written in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I find all that fine up to a point, but without a real, tangible culture, what do you have? Just a bunch of citizens floating aimlessly in an uncaring postmodern environment.


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