American Creed: Perception Versus Reality

With this essay, I was able to explore the realities of the American creed for minorities by incorporating the voices from various races and ethnicities. This essay also highlights the selectivity in our nation as to who gets utilise their voice and who doesn't; thus speaking out

By Eva Fitch from Staples High School in Connecticut

       America's diverse culture is comprised of various races and ethnicities which jointly help power our communities through their hard work, initiative, and determination. Contrary to the popular belief that minorities cause America to lose its identity, I strongly believe that they form an integral part of our nation’s diverse communities. After all, America’s diversity is the source of its great success and strength. Therefore, this melting pot comprised of different ethnicities, that assimilate to form our multi-ethnic community, is what sets our country apart from the rest.

       Now, ideally this diverse culture would lead to a stronger, more empowered nation, however, this isn’t the case. Some minorities are predisposed to structural discrimination which we, as a nation, have struggled to combat with throughout our history. The rest of the population, on the other hand, is composed primarily of white privileged Americans. This selective group is born with an immediate advantage of “wealth and an ultra-concentration of privilege and power” therefore leaving the remaining Americans “poorer, more insecure and increasingly disenfranchised” (Dugger). This makes me realise how much more difficult the American creed is to achieve when one is faced with certain obstacles that the rest of the population isn’t forced to experience.

       This is problematic because as Americans we should all have equal opportunities, but the fact that diverse Americans are exempt from this proves how as a nation we’ve failed to comply with our core ideals of equality. Therefore, as a nation, if we truly want to have an American creed that unifies us, we must accept this issue and work towards repairing these inequalities.

       During the 2016 Presidential election, there was a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) exposing the inequalities that occurred to minorities at the polls. The survey conducted last June examined diverse Americans and their experiences with America's political system, voting, and citizenship. Before displaying the survey’s results, it’s crucial to understand that the extent of voter suppression in the U.S has dated back to the 1900s when there were strong racial and ethnic biases against marginalised races. In more detail, the prevalence of poll taxes, literacy tests, and restrictive election laws caused there to be severe discrimination throughout our nation's voting history.

       Now fast forward to our last presidential election, the results indicated that our voting laws were in no way racially neutral. This is because the survey “uncovered evidence of deep structural barriers to the ballot for black and Latino voters” (Newkirk). This concerns me because it’s deliberately denying their basic political rights, and it makes me realise how common voter suppression is even to this day. Therefore, since voting is routinely more difficult for minorities, it directly interferes with their ability to express their American creed.

       In September 2011 a survey titled “What it means to Be American” was also conducted by the PRRI. Based on the results, the respondents were able to be classified into two distinct groups: Traditional Minorities versus Cultural Minorities. The traditional minorities score high on this dimension, proving that they are “less disliked and more welcomed minorities in the eyes of white Americans.” (Galston). I thought to myself that the only way to explain this was because Latinos, African Americans, and Jews have grown large enough to become an integrated part of our societies nationwide. However cultural minorities, on the other hand, are viewed very differently amongst whites. They are seen to fall outside of mainstream society culturally, behaviourally, or both.” (Galston). The results concluded that Americans perceive Muslims, Atheists, and Mormons through a common lens; viewing them as less favorable and less welcomed than the traditional minorities.

       PRRI's studies coupled with the frequency of voter suppression in a nation that preaches equality should ring a bell indicating that something is wrong. The fundamental reason why immigrants and other minorities choose the U.S to pursue their lives is clear. It is simply because our founding documents and core ideals advocate for equal rights and protections under the law for anyone and everyone. However, this dream of seemingly endless opportunity and equality instantly vanishes when minorities are faced with the brutal realities of the selectivity as to who gets to have a voice and who doesn’t. This causes “our progress toward a better day for freedom, democracy and justice” (Dugger) to be stalled if certain voices are being muted and concealed from the public. Although there may not be a definite explanation to this, it cannot be refuted that oppression and inequalities are embedded within our history which, in my view, have carried on to current day.

       Although there is no set solution to the inequalities that minorities suffer from, I think that if everybody admired the ethnic and racial diversity in the states, minorities could prosper without issue. Firstly, we must accept the fact that marginalisation hinders the way in which minorities seek to express their creed and succeed in this nation. We then must learn to value the differences that make up our multi-ethnic communities rather than unjustifiably denying them certain unalienable rights. This can only be executed by ensuring equal rights and opportunities to all Americans and not allowing your race or ethnicity to be the factor that determines your level of success in America. Finally, by doing so, structural discrimination will be eradicated and an equal creed will finally be attained. 

Dugger, Edward. "Does the American Dream Remain Realistic — Or Is It Slipping Away?" Mission.org, 29 Jan. 2018, medium.com/the-mission/does-the-american-dream-remain-realistic-or-is-it-slipping-away-f721c7f276dc. Accessed 6 June 2019.

Galston, William A. "What it Means to be American: Attitudes towards Increasing Diversity in America Ten Years after 9/11." PRRI, 6 Sept. 2011,www.prri.org/research/what-it-means-to-be-american/Accessed 5 June 2019.

Newkirk, Vann R. "Voter Suppression Is Warping Democracy." The Atlantic, 28 July2018, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/poll-prri-voter-suppression/565355. Accessed 5 June 2019. 

Staples High School

Herzog 2A 18-19

This group is dedicated to Mrs. Herzog's English 2A 18-19 class to share their responses to the five invitations.

More responses from Staples High School

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More responses about "discrimination", "dream", "inequality", "marginalization", and "minorities"

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