America: Undefined Land In Creating America, Joyce Moser and Ann Watters suggest that, “In understanding American Identities, we need to come to terms with unity and division, with separateness and common grounds. ” In other words, for understanding American society one must understand its contradictions and the irony they represent. For thousands of years humans have emerged themselves in the constant quest of finding who they are as individuals and ultimately as a society.
This constant quest has become more complex as the years pass, especially in America, where a multiple ombination of people from different cultures, races and religions coexist.
This coexistence has kept the American self-image compelling to others and thus bringing more individuals to the nation. For understanding a nation as a whole one must understand its individuals, and since America does not have a set standard of what one must look like in order to declare themselves as Americans, one can only conclude that the American Identity remains undefined, even after taking and analyzing all the contradictions.
Even though American Identity cannot be well- defined, terms such as “Melting-pot” or “Mosaic” are still used to describe this nation society. A Melting-Pot by definition is a pot where different materials are melted and mixed together. As a metaphor it is used to describe all the different people who came together to formed America and became one. A “Mosaic” is used in the same context as well, and it only differs in the broader aspect of a more multiculturalism adaptation.
Both terms come close to describe the diversity that the United States is omposed of; however, both fail in the idealism that assimilation of this culture take place, and since there is no set standard of an “American” or even a set culture, immigrants have nothing to assimilate to begin with. There has always been the notion that what is America, if not a nation of immigrants? And in reality that is the case. America has always been a nation of settlers, even today, where thousands of people traversed the borders legally and illegally to come to the United States.
Diversity is what describes this nation, describes it but not defines it. The idealism of economic advancement, the promise of the American Dream, freedom of speech, the promises in the constitution all appealing to immigrants who share aspirations and values and celebrate the honor of being called an American. However, no matter how big these ideals are racial discrimination still takes place between each other. Regardless, of how progressive one may think America is immigrants are still considered immigrants instead of full fledge Americans.
Segregations still exist to some extent in the American communities. From a perspective point of view, it is ard to define everyone as equals and sharing the same goal since there is vastly amount of different backgrounds and ideas of what American is and should be. Nonetheless there still some who believe America can transcend from the individual differences and unite as one. As Michael Friedman once said “Americans have defined themselves not by their racial, religious, and ethnic identity but by their common values and belief in individual freedom. If the American way does indeed embrace all kinds of people and give them equal rights, rules and everything else, nen mayDe It Is a mlstaKe to say tnere Is no American laentlty Mayne as waters ana Moser stated between the lines contradictions are indeed the American way. As the diversity of America continues growing, more contradictions, opposing ideologies and subcultures will arise, and so it will give the birth to a new America, The real America. Insightful enough this ideology will be more complex to understand and farther from a set identity. Again it would not create a culture.
In conclusion what defines a nation? Is it each individual with their different culture, background or even race? Is the idealism and common goal what brings together a nation? If it is then what are the common belief of the American society? Answering these questions differs from each individual, so agreeing on disagreeing is the best option. As Waters and Moser argument establish, America is indeed a land of “contradictions”. Nothing is only one way, there is always another side. Diversity is what represents the American way, but ironically it is also the reason why the American Identity is still undefined.