I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.-John F. Kennedy
America has never been a place that I’ve loved so much that I never want to leave… That being said I’ve always thought America has the most potential to become a country unlike any other; one with true democracy, freedom, and acceptance for all. However, although the concept of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness has been with us from the beginning, we still have trouble gaining it. It took decades to stop slavery, and decades more to get black men the right to vote, and even more for women.
America was created to give people the opportunity to start a new life, and be free. A supposed melting pot where all races could live a better life than before. But that’s not what happen, immigrants historically have always received discrimination. A constant battle for jobs and resources between people born in american, and people coming in.
My grandfather when he came to America from Jamaica, joined the army under a fake name and worked in one of the factories for protection. He left his entire family and friends with the hope of a better life. But soon realized that although there were many new resources open to him, he now had to deal with racism and discrimination. By the time he met his second wife, (my grandmother) he tried to hide his accent as much as possible, and refused to talk about his past. My mother was an adult when she found out that her last name was actually a lie. It was the last name Forsythe not Diggins that she decided to hyphenate when she was married. Proud of the last name that did not originate from a slave owner, but a Scotland that fell in love with a Jamaican women. Moving forward my grandmother and grandfather prospered and were the first blacks in an all white neighborhood, building the house themselves with the help of friends. They had two kids, my mom and uncle, and pushed them-especially my mother to break away from black stereotypes and work hard to be themselves.
Many immigrants value their heritage, and try to teach their children the same traditions and principles they learned in their home country. However second generation immigrants often resent this and try to act as ‘American’ as possible, refusing to speak anything other than English and only wanting to do American traditions. America unlike other countries, had to make up their own culture and tradition in a short period of time, and I think because of this many citizens have pushed so much for nationalism because they are trying to help make up American identity and tradition.
The view on not burning the American flag, not wanting any illegal immigrants, and standing for the pledge/anthem are very patriotic, however the same people that have those views are likely to have some sort of hostility towards people that do not share those same views. This not only causes conflict but lack of communication with people with different opinions. There has always been a fear of talking about controversial topics in our society. This may have started to not cause offence, but now it is because of a lack of interest in starting a conversation. Currently entertainment has taken the biggest role in starting the conversation in relation to gay pride, and black discrimination, as well as equal pay for women. Two very forward examples of entertainers creating awareness to black discrimination is the song “This is America” by Childish Gambino, and the other song “I’m not Racist” by Joyner Lucas. Both have millions of views on their music videos and have even had people analyse the significance of their words and symbolic gestures.
Because we live in a society that has most young adolescents entertained by social media and the internet, they have a deeper understanding of different perspectives, and receive more knowledge. I think this a good thing because it means that they are openly aware of history that gives them a context of understanding social interaction between groups, which make it hard to stay ignorant to issues happening in the country. And I believe that this is what’s going to push us to be truly equal and free like our founding fathers dreamed of us becoming.