There is so much beauty and diversity in America and its people, we cannot simply have one identity. America cannot simply embrace one identity because “identity” is a subjective term that is very unique and distinctive. With regard to our own personal history and experiences it is not possible to narrow down one identity to distinguish the American people. The American identity is not one distinct characteristic, but many that make us all unique and different.
Christians go to church, Jews to temple and Muslims to mosques. There are many different religions in the world today and there are many people who don’t believe at all. Not every American follows the same religion because not every American believes in the same God. As a whole communities allow and understand others to practice in what they choose to believe. “Understanding allows us to stand in another person’s shoes and see from their point of view. We do not have to adopt all the other religions. Understanding allows us to be respectful of another’s theology and methods of worship,” (quora). You do not necessarily have to agree with everybody’s values and beliefs, but taking the time to understand their point of view and show respect is important. Everyone is entitled to his own value and belief. It is crucial to understand that other individuals may have different values and beliefs than you, and as a country we must not attempt to limit what others may choose to stand for and believe in.
Identity in the United States is based, in large part, to the variety of different ethnicities that are found in the country. When considering other ethnic groups such as Hispanics or African Americans, seeing ethnicity as a personal characteristic may be relatively easy to define. “Simply because most of us are immigrants or descended from immigrants, and because we include ethnic or national background labels to describe ourselves to others, we are all to some degree members of ethnic groups. The issue, then, is not who is ethnic and who is not. It is the role ethnicity plays in personal identity and, beyond that, in access to social and economic advantages,” (casaforchildren). People in the United States come from all around the world. We put labels on ourselves to try to “fit in” with those around us trying to be someone we’re not. Having different backgrounds makes us all unique and exclusive and we should value the fact that we are who we are and did not choose from where we came. As Junot Diaz implies, being different is hard, and trying to “fit in” while being different is even harder. Although Diaz did not speak the language and stood out among students in his classroom, he was embarrassed and tried harder to learn English in order to communicate with them. Even though the United States’ official language is English not everyone who immigrates has an even modest command of the language. Not speaking the language makes it difficult to find work or opportunities that could provide a better life. Because there are many different languages, religions and ethnicities, there is no one American identity.
Being unique is a trait that everyone carries and with which we are all born. Being unique is beautiful and you should want to stand out and not be in someone’s shadow by being the same. In the podcast, “Say My Name” by Code Switch, Raja would not correct people when they mispronounced her name because Raja felt bad correcting her close friends and felt apologetic. Maz would use his father to pronounce his name correctly in front of his friends. If they did not catch on, Maz would tell them in the nicest way possible. When people come from different parts of the world to America they have names that are common in their homeland. When they come to America their name is unique and difficult for many people to pronounce. Everyone is different in his own way; from his roots to his name. We’re all different because we’re all from different parts of the world, thus we all have a different identity, deconstructing the idea of an American identity.
American society is a complex system of groups, categories, and cultures, often referred to as a “melting pot”. “Whatever the precise attributes of specific “kinds” of Americans that make up the American tapestry or “melting pot,” it is the dense and often tense interrelations between these kinds that have most thoroughly defined the history and conditions of life of the U.S,” (researchgate). Recently, diversity has become a popular topic. Diversity includes everyone because people differ from one another in many ways. While still a controversial topic among many diversity has become increasingly important and more generally accepted as an ideal for which humans should strive.
As a result, I do not believe that there is just one American identity. I do not believe that there is just one way upon which America is viewed. Identity has become very prominent in American culture in recent years. What you look like, where you come from, how much you earn, and how you talk. These values are held by all people to one degree or another. These values are the nuts and bolts of an independent society. The American identity is not one distinct characteristic, but many that make us all abstract and unique.
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