American Creed

Posted by Rachel L. Montana

The problems that we are still facing in America.

Condoleezza Rice, a professor at Stanford and former U.S. Secretary of State, was one of the creative minds behind the documentary American Creed. She said, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it only matters where you are going.” This film was made to talk about the troubles and trials that all Americans faced. Condoleezza was raised in an African-American community in the rural south and at times it was hard. But, she found a way to push through--her education. Education was her way to a better life. We become educated and suddenly we are open to a whole world we didn’t even know existed. It provides a sense of protection. I’m educated and you can’t take it away from me.

For many minority people, Rice included, they are still to this day discriminated against for who they are. Unfortunately, many people do care where you come from and there hasn’t been a way to change that because those said people don’t want you to get where you are going. That is a mindset of America. We step on people who are on their pathway to success and undermine them because they are a little bit different.

Right now, many Americans are against our President - Mr. Donald Trump. He has been blamed for a lot of discrimination problems. If we are to be honest, those problems were here before he became president. We just decided to put the blame on his shoulders. He is not the only one to blame because other people act just as he does. He isn’t the only person who says discriminatory things or makes unnecessary commentary. Blame must be equally shouldered by all who do wrong. Junot Diaz, a Dominican-American writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner, said in an interview with Krista Tippett, “The world has been in an awful state for a long time. It is very important to regroup and to reflect, to strategize, because even though I’m saying ‘ok, yeah, I’ve seen this before’ it doesn’t mean that things aren’t new and that introspection and strategizing and new forms of solidarity aren’t required.” We have seen the same problems for years, but there are new ways to solve those problems today.

Yet, we still choose to avoid solutions because we would rather leave each other behind than help each other. We haven’t adapted or changed ourselves to face the problems we have in the modern world. We still act like we’re living in 1900, but more spoiled. There are many places where society falls short. America is supposed to be a place where anyone and anyone can thrive and pursue the American Dream. Junot Diaz said in his interview, “...where society leaves off, we need to take up. Society miseducates us. Society gives us a lot of prompts and a lot of encouragements to be reactive, emotionally reactive.” We choose to react with an emotion instead of taking courage to really do something about our problems. We emotionally react yet we are afraid of what being vulnerable can do to us. Afraid of what? I’m not sure because being vulnerable and being able to share that with someone is a special thing that all people need to experience.

It would seem that as Americans we have lost our way. We’ve veered from the journey to the American Dream and we’ve forgotten where we are going. We are so sucked into the reality of competing with each other that we’ve become inhuman beings. Junot Diaz explains inhuman in his interview as, “...someone who’s all surfaces and has no innards, has no interiority, and doesn’t require community, doesn’t require intimacy, doesn’t require family.” People used to only ever make it through their life with community, they were family. If we keep blaming each other, discriminating against each other, keep being afraid of vulnerability, we will never find that sense of community that is key to a happy life and the American Dream. We focus on what divides us, like the places we come from, instead of what combines us, like where we are going.

Published on May 21, 2018
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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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