Diversity and the American National Identity Essays

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Diversity and the American National Identity

Greed is good, get get get, I want what you have, don't touch mine." This is what a friend of mine said when I asked for his conception of the American national identity is.1 Although this statement seems informal and absurd, it accurately reflects the dog-eat-dog world many people believe to be the American capitalist culture.2 Whether my friend said this with the intent of comic relief is inconsequential. Whether he knew it, the informant reflects his cultural identity.

Many ambiguities surround the establishment, formation, and retention of a national identity. To what extent can a national identity be individualized? Does every individual, regardless of origin, possess the ability
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Hernando defines the national identity as "the coming together as one people from a mixture of races, and basically cultures, including socio-economic borders and such." He proceeds to explain that because America is a "melting pot" full of diversities in cultures, ideas, and lineages, retaining a universal national identity is not possible. Hernando justifies this statement by offering an example of a country where he believes a national identity has been established. He says, "The Germans have created a national identity; what do you have there? Germans, people of German descent."

Iago, a nineteen year-old Puerto Rican male claims, "Socially and economically, I have an American identity. Ethnically, no, I do not have an American identity." A firm believer in humanism and individualism, he considers the concept of a national identity in any context to be irrational. He continues, "A national identity represses the evolution of social and economic diversification." Iago claims that he is altogether devoid of a national identity. Is this possible? Can a person willingly select which aspects of a national identity to apply to his or her personal culture?

Maya, an eighteen year-old native of India, insists that the national identity is "a lot of different people living together and being able to live together." Instead of classifying the nation as a unified whole, like Hernando has, she concentrates on the ability and necessity of co-habitation in

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