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The topic of discussion for this section of the class was mainly the American identity and the role of the foreigner in our nation and other nations. It is an interesting topic of discussion to think of what makes someone an American, whether they are a citizen or not. There are several traits which make “an American” according to the authors and thinkers that were reflected on in class.
An American public school is an easily identifiable sight. There is an American flag in every room, and the pledge of allegiance is said at the beginning of every school day. From an early age, our children are taught to revere the flag and to be patriotic towards their country. This is used as a form of assimilation for the young people of America. Unfortunately, the history we are made to believe when we are children is a bit skewed. It under-exaggerates the rough patches in our history and over-exaggerates the good. For example, I remember learning about the first Thanksgiving when I was very young. When we picture this, we picture the pilgrims and the Native Americans sitting around a big happy table eating turkey and being friendly to each other. To those of us who actually know about the events surrounding the first Thanksgiving, we know that this “happy dinner” would have included Native Americans infected with small pox and pilgrims stealing their land (that’s right, no turkey).
Another topic of discussion is how foreigners are treated in our nation, and in other nations. Immigrants are sometimes thought of as a problem that has to be dealt with, when there are many significant members of American society who were immigrants. One example is Eddie Van Halen. Edward moved from The Netherlands with his family during his childhood, and brought our nation amazing music and many wonderful concerts filled with joyous rock and roll. This is a rather silly example but the idea is that immigrants have much to add to our society, and our culture is the way it is because of our immigrants.
We should all remember that unless we are descended specifically from Native Americans, we are all immigrants. The American identity is that of a melting pot of other cultures and nationalities. Immigrants are just as much a part of the American identity and natural born citizens.
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