What Means to Be an American

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952 words

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McDonald’s is as American as you can get, or so I thought. Eating burgers and having fireworks for the 4th of July. that is what is thought of us by the world, but of course being American is much bigger than just eating donuts and having an iPhone. But that is how we are viewed, we are viewed not as heroes or a helpful country with open arms to any individual or country who is in need of aid, but instead we are viewed as people who hate, people who are selfish, people who despise anyone else who isn’t American, that is what an American is.

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America is not great and it’s people are not great either, America and its people are viewed in a very negative way, and history shows us that as well. From allowing slavery to prosper in America, and having a war between our own people to decide whether slavery should continue to exist. To us destroying thousands of native Americans homes and killing just as many, and then relocating them which is known as “The Trail of Tears” in which even more Native Americans died, just so we could have more land. To us forcing Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War Two because they were considered untrustworthy and could be spies for the enemy country we were fighting which was Japan which was against the Civil Rights as they were American but yet they were still treated as if they were the enemy as well.

To more recent cases, the war with Iraq that was approved by President George W. Bush due to information that Saddam Hussein had a large possession of weapons of mass destruction and he was working with a terrorist group, the U.S feared that they would fall into the wrong hands,so the U.S declared war to find these reported weapons, but to no avail as there were no weapons of mass destruction found and no evidence was found of Saddam Hussein working with a terrorist group. Not only did the war cost millions of dollars it also caused the death of half a million Iraqis, and it also cost the lives of more than 4,000 U.S soldiers.

They gave their lives for this country without a second doubt and yet it’s government and people failed them. No matter at what point in American history is read or talked about, there will always be something unpatriotic committed by the American people. We have fueled wars, we have started wars, we have killed innocent people and will continue to do it, as long as America and its people get what they want no matter the cost.“Those who only know one country, know no country” said Seymour Martin Lipset a political scientist, there is truth to that saying.

Most Americans have some to no knowledge about how life is in other countries, they can’t say with exact certainty that life in America is better due to having no understandment for how countries should be treatings its citizens since they have only lived in one country for their whole life. They have this assumption that America is the greatest country, that it gives its citizens plenty of rights and many freedom and so on. So they look down on countries that are not like America, they ridicule countries for their traditions, their laws and their government. Americans are thought of as the most racist people mostly due to the reason that we allow racism to continue in America.

Even in modern times racism is still a major problem in america. There has been a significant amount of police brutality mainly against the black community to the point where you can’t even trust the police which were put there to help keep its citizens safe, as well as hate crimes against muslims rising after the terrorist attack on the the twin towers. Which were not committed by the muslims but committed by an islamic group known as Al-qaeda, but yet we continue to show hate towards the muslims as if it was them who committed the act.

Another race we discriminate against are the hispanics, there has been a long dispute on whether we should deport all the Mexicans who crossed the border illegally. It has been a dispute since many of them have families here and children who were born here so it has become a conflict as to what would happen with the children who were born here and their parents who weren’t, and the Americans don’t want them here either. Our very own president Donald Trump himself has stated many times how much he despises the Mexicans and that he will build a wall to block off America from Mexico so immigrants will no longer be able to arrive to America illegally. If our own president thinks this way, what’s to say the people as well feel the same way he does.

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To the people America is the future, its people believe America is the definition of diversity and opportunity. Yet every single day many people are being separated from their families or being shot by a police officers for a insignificant reason. Asians, muslims, mexicans, japanese, chinese, african Americans are in the everyday struggle of dealing with racial inequality which is being accepted in America to this day. Americans are not the good people you hear about on the news, they are only willing to help out their own people, their own country. They don’t care about other countries unless that country has something they want. They believe they are the greatest and they will continue to believe that. We the people do not value your opinion if you are not American.

Works Cited

  1. Chomsky, N. (2011). Hopes and Prospects. Haymarket Books.
  2. Cose, E. (1997). The Rage of a Privileged Class: Why are middle-class blacks angry? What has race got to do with it? Harper Perennial.
  3. Diamond, J. (1997). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. W. W. Norton & Company.
  4. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk. Bedford/St. Martin's.
  5. Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to Be an Antiracist. One World.
  6. Lipset, S. M. (1996). American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. W. W. Norton & Company.
  7. Rothstein, R. (2017). The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Liveright Publishing Corporation.
  8. Stiglitz, J. E. (2012). The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future. W. W. Norton & Company.
  9. West, C. (1994). Race Matters. Vintage Books.
  10. Zinn, H. (1980). A People's History of the United States. Harper Perennial.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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What Means to Be an American. (2020, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 27, 2023, from
“What Means to Be an American.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2020,
What Means to Be an American. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Sept. 2023].
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