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Essay On National Identity

Diversity and the American National Identity Essays

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Diversity and the American National Identity

Greed is good, get get get, I want what you have, don't touch mine." This is what a friend of mine said when I asked for his conception of the American national identity is.1 Although this statement seems informal and absurd, it accurately reflects the dog-eat-dog world many people believe to be the American capitalist culture.2 Whether my friend said this with the intent of comic relief is inconsequential. Whether he knew it, the informant reflects his cultural identity.

Many ambiguities surround the establishment, formation, and retention of a national identity. To what extent can a national identity be individualized? Does every individual, regardless of origin, possess the ability…show more content…

Hernando defines the national identity as "the coming together as one people from a mixture of races, and basically cultures, including socio-economic borders and such." He proceeds to explain that because America is a "melting pot" full of diversities in cultures, ideas, and lineages, retaining a universal national identity is not possible. Hernando justifies this statement by offering an example of a country where he believes a national identity has been established. He says, "The Germans have created a national identity; what do you have there? Germans, people of German descent."

Iago, a nineteen year-old Puerto Rican male claims, "Socially and economically, I have an American identity. Ethnically, no, I do not have an American identity." A firm believer in humanism and individualism, he considers the concept of a national identity in any context to be irrational. He continues, "A national identity represses the evolution of social and economic diversification." Iago claims that he is altogether devoid of a national identity. Is this possible? Can a person willingly select which aspects of a national identity to apply to his or her personal culture?

Maya, an eighteen year-old native of India, insists that the national identity is "a lot of different people living together and being able to live together." Instead of classifying the nation as a unified whole, like Hernando has, she concentrates on the ability and necessity of co-habitation in

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When speaking of the national identity of Americans today, there is not one clear cut picture like there used to be in previous decades. When the first settlers came to America from Europe they came to start a new world, a new country together. They identified as a group of people from assorted countries coming together as one. Their goal was to start a new life away from the rules and regulations of their home country’s rule. When it comes to people living in the United States they share one common trait in their national identity, which is the freedom to live their life in the manner they choose.

The Melting Pot

People around the world have left behind their lives in other countries and immigrated to the United States in hopes for a brighter future. Immigrants left war-torn countries, countries in which they suffered tremendous oppression to come to America. These individuals made this decision because the national identity of America has boasted a land in which people had immeasurable rights and freedoms not allowed in other countries. With so many people coming to America from around the globe America became known as “the Melting Pot.” The phrase is an accurate assessment as around the U.S. are people of all races and religions living together.

In a country with such ethnic diversity, one thing that America has never had with regard to national identity is an ethnic identity. Americans are of all races, colors, and creeds. Unlike many other countries with an ethnic identity it is simply not possibility to put an ethnic face on Americans. The typical American can be qualified as everything from African American, to Asian, European, Spanish, Mexican, or Native American to name a few. This extreme ethnic identity is a direct result of the never ending influx of people of all ethnicities coming to America since its founding.

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Tensions over Diversity

With an incredible influx of so many different races, religions, and cultures coming to America, the national identity was one of diversity but one of conflict. Like all countries throughout history tensions between those born in the United States and those that immigrated to the country caused tension and a blurred line related to exactly what the national identity of America was. More people were displaying pride in their own cultures, home countries, and true to the concept of the “melting pot,” the American national identity became blurred.

The Impact of 9/11

When a country, such as America, becomes the home to immigrants from around the world, tensions as well as a break in unity occur. No matter where a person came from originally, when the United States was devastated by the terrorist attacks on 9/11 there was a surge in pride, patriotism, and unity. People of all races, religions, cultures, and monetary levels came together as a nation. There was pride in being an American, even if through emigrating from another country after birth. There was resurgence in patriotism. Americans, despite suffering tremendous losses on September 11, reaffirmed belief in the United States and what living in the country stands for as a person.

The United States was no longer a country where the differences in languages, religious and culture beliefs were diminishing or erasing the American national identity. Americans came together as a show of solidarity with each other. Americans exemplified the motto placed on all coins and paper banknotes, “E Pluribus Unum” out of many, one.

The national identity of Americans is about more than the red, white, and blue, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Star Spangled Banner. The national identity is about patriotism and a blending of many cultures. In more recent years the American national identity has come to mean many things, and not all of them are positive. Regardless of your personal opinion of the current state of the United States, one thing remains the same, Americans have the freedom to be who they are, believe in what they want, and voice their opinions and beliefs even if people disagree. Freedom of speech and freedoms in general, will continue to remain the most important aspects to the American national identity.