American Culture: What is it Really?

The United States. A land of opportunity. A land of success. A land of diversity.

People all over the world portray America as a superior country, one step ahead of the rest. 

“The pride of being an American is so strong,” said Rebeca Maia, a National Student Leadership Conference student living in Recife-pe, Brazil. “I don’t feel the patriotic feeling in Brazilas I do in theUnited States.”

The United Statesis known for its patriotism.

“If people are connected in the U.S., it’s by a sense of patriotism and national pride,” said NSLC Team Advisor Ryan Babula from Savannah, Georgia.

There is no doubt about it: Most Americans are proud to be American. But what about culture? International countries, such asChinaor India, have such a rich culture, complete with familial traditions, religious ceremonies, and unique dress and food.

Some say that the United States’culture is lacking. “Americais a country of power,” said NSLC student Ashley Thomas, who has lived across the United States. “But, I don’t think that our cultural power is as significant as that of other countries, like Mexico.”

I have lived in Californiaall my life, but make frequent visits to India. I would call myself American, but my Indian culture is definitely expressed as well.

However, I think that the American culture is unique and underestimated. When asked what the American culture really is, NSLC Campus Host Kevin Bishop said that integrating other cultures is what makes the United States what it is.

“We take everything and mix it together in one, that’s what makes it unique,” he said.

Leadership Facilitator Amy Christianson believes that there are two parts to being American.

“American culture is a blend of the freedom to have varying religious beliefs, to practice a variety of customs and family traditions,” she said. “Then, there’s the apple pie and baseball culture as well.”

Different cultures and religions are a part of what constitutes American culture. Many would agree that the United Statesis a “melting pot.” But are Americans as strongly culturally connected as foreigners are?

“I think so,” said Christianson. “That’s why you see people enrolling in the armed forces, people volunteering and serving our communities.”

Maia agrees, stating that people can learn about many different nations, just by living in the United States.

Being a “melting pot” is why people from foreign nations come to us. Americagives people the opportunity to be free. It gives us the freedom of flexibility.

“We are American because we have the ability to come here and maintain our religion and not have to conform,” said Christianson. “We are not penalized because of where we came from.”

So, although countries outside the United Stateshave history that goes far back, their cultural significance is limited to their own. Americahas the best of all the worlds. We are able to exercise any religion, any culture, and any traditions without facing opposition.

As Americans, we should be proud of our culture. We should appreciate the uniqueness that our country possesses. Being patriotic is one thing, but exercising the American culture is another. We should represent all types of people fairly in our daily lives, and maintain our reputation of being the most open country in the world. We are entitled to rights that are exclusive for us, and should take advantage of them. Because, as Americans, we are free.