AMERICAN CULTURE EXAMINED Essay

This essay has a total of 2214 words and 9 pages.


AMERICAN CULTURE EXAMINED




AMERICAN CULTURE EXAMINED

In order to understand this immense country that we call America, we need to study the
culture. More specifically, we need to study the form of society in America. Is this
society changing, or does it remain fixed throughout time? There are many aspects of our
society, some of which are: traditions, values, and religion. The many realms of society
contribute to a conglomerate culture, which cannot be described simply.

The American culture is diverse and constantly evolving due to many various aspects of
society, including, but not limited to, religion. It cannot be said that there is one
American culture because there is no national language in America. Also, the lack of a
single culture is displayed by the strong need for political correctness in America.
Finally, it is evident that the culture in America has changed through the years due to
changes in American religion.

Since language is an essential part of culture, and America has no national language, then
America is not tied together with one culture. There are reasons why the U.S. Government
has not declared an official language. The most important being that an official language
of English would promote xenophobia, making the English speaking afraid of new immigrants
or vice versa. It would also deprive the American citizens who do not speak English of
some of their basic rights. For example, how could someone vote, or take a driving test,
if they do not know the language. On the other hand, immigrants would benefit if they
were forced to learn a national language in America. They would be able to receive a
better education, find a better job, and participate more completely in society (Gallegos,
1994).

The fact that hundreds of thousands of children in America are being primarily educated in
languages other than English, along with drivers’ license tests in America being
administered in over twelve languages, should bring us to realize how ethnically and
culturally diverse our country really is. The primary opponents of English as a national
language are Hispanic politicians and lobbying organizations. These Hispanics are very
resistant to the idea of America as a “melting pot”. They would prefer the idea of a
“salad bowl” with all of the ingredients thrown together, but not melted, so that they
retain their own distinctive traits (Gallegos, 1994). But what about the Hispanics who
are being led by these organizations? It is hard to say whether or not they
whole-heartedly agree with their leaders. Some may even think that resisting assimilation
by maintaining the Spanish language is detrimental to America as a whole. In the
nineteenth century, Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The tie of language is perhaps the
strongest and the most durable that can unite mankind.” As long as there are many groups
in America that disagree with this statement, there will not be an uniting language to
bring America together under one culture (Gallegos, 1994).

The lack of a single culture in America is also conveyed by the strong need for political
correctness in this country. If America were not so culturally diverse, we would not have
developed this method of politeness that has become increasingly popular. This is also an
example of how much this country has changed. A few years ago, no one knew what the term
“politically correct” meant. But as we approach the twenty-first century, it has invaded
society like a plague. If we do not conform to this concept of political correctness, we
are labeled as slanderous, almost to the point of being outcast by popular society.

There seems to be a cultural war going on in America waging between the freedom of speech
and the need for political correctness. When Charlton Heston told an audience that white
pride was just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else’s pride, he was called
a racist. When he said that gay rights should go no further than anyone else’s rights, he
was called a homophobe. When he drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and
singling out innocent gun owners, he was called an anti-Semite. These are just a few
examples of how Americans are being trained to think and to speak with sensitivity towards
others. American society contains so many different races and ethnicity’s that a system
had to be developed in order for our country to proceed peacefully
(www.mere-christianity.org/heston.htm).

In one instance, Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world, was
marketing a CD by Ice-T called “Cop Killer”. This CD had extremely vulgar lyrics, but
Time/Warner, along with the media, was afraid to say anything against it because the rap
artist was black. This is an important story to learn from. Americans have gotten so
involved with political correctness in order to make everyone feel included in this
country that they have forgotten common sense and basic values. Martin Gross in his book,
The End of Sanity, writes “There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual
theories regularly foisted on us from every direction.” Because of this trend in America,
we can tell that our culture is forever changing. It seems that the concept of political
correctness is trying to unite America to be tolerant towards everyone, but the mere fact
that we need a system of political correctness shows that America is not truly united
(www.mere-christianity.org/heston.htm).

It is evident that religion in America has changed through the years, and that many
religious changes have brought about changes in the American culture. In the early part
of the twentieth century, the following events were unthinkable: In 1986, Presbyterians,
the United Church of Christ, Reform and Conservative Jews, the Unitarian Universalist
Association, the Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church, and many others joined together
to lead a pro-choice march. In the same year, Mormons, conservative Protestants,
Catholics, Jews, and Greek Orthodox banded together to address the problem of child and
adult pornography. In 1988, orthodox activists from every religious group in America
protested together against abortion in what was called Operation Rescue. Before the
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