Wed: 1:00pm – 1:50pm
Cover Up and Exposure
American culture cannot be described using just one word because of its complexity. Since the very beginning, the inhabitants of America have been extremely diverse in race, class, and culture; for example, the first people who came to Los Angeles were“ Indians, blacks, and variant admixtures of Spanish blood (47)” These pioneers“came from the poorest sections of Baja society…hoping for a better life at Spanish expense.” As one can see, America’s diversity and ambition is woven intoits very foundation.
Even today, diversity remains in America; not just in it’s people’s outer appearances but also in their ideals. Examining America’s history books, we can find caregivers, highly egocentric, destructive people, and people who are a bit of both. No one is just this or just that and that is why America is so great; she is the artwork (still in progress) of all her’s inhabitant’s different personality traits, goals, and ethnicities. These people work both in harmony and cacophony to shape a better living environment for themselves and the future generation. In a sense, America is a melody that is filled with jangles of discourse but still appealing enough to keep people listening.
Through out the years, America it self has been called both the hero and the enemy (a movie reference would be Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader). In political discourse, there are people who celebrate, romanticize America but also individuals who are critical of her and wish to expose her of her flaws. The difference in attitude usually has to do with gender and race. Those who crucify America are usually the minorities such as the Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans for they are the ones who are left out of their inalienable rights. While to some, America is the “City On a Hill” a place of freedom, liberty and democracy, for a long time, most of them could only stare at the glory and promises from a distance and wish they could enjoy the same privileges. From their ranks, many true American heroes are born. Though not widely recognized, they represent the American spirit of courage and change.
All in all, America cannot be understood unless one listens to all sides of the story. While on one hand, one needs to recognize many American’s desire to mythologize and sanctify the country, on the other hand, one must also strive to understand and step into the shoes of people like Abigal Adams or Abraham Lincoln, who thinks America needs to be fixed and thus dedicate their lives to exposing America’s sins and protesting her injustices. Both are real depictions of America, just different facets of it, America has no single culture or personality, she has many. Through the thirteen quotes below, one will be able to see the different faces of America and how they complement and contrast each other to create a great nation.
1. Andrew Carroll, ed., Letteres from a Nation:
Here, sir, was a time in which your tender feelings for yourselves had engaged you thus to declare, you were then impressed with proper ideas of the great valuation of liberty and the free possession of those blessings to which you were entitled by nature; but sir, how pitiable is it… that you be found guilty of that most criminal act which you most professedly detested. (p. 86)
The quote above is from a letter written by Benjamin Banneker to Thomas Jefferson in regards to Jefferson’s prejudice remarks towards black people in his Notes on the State of Virginia. Banneker shines a questioning light onto Jefferson’s self interests and challenges him; accusing him for owning slaves and contradictorily, talking about how “all men are created equal”. Banneker’s message is significant because it represents the American spirit of fighting for what one thinks is right. He tries to convey to Jefferson, who is blinded by his prejudice that colored people are people too and that they are not just instruments but people