The American culture encompasses the traditions and values of several nations and this is the reason it is called the nation of nations. People from several lands, with different faiths, values, race and culture are residing in this land. This diversity of culture is the cause of success and strength in America (Grenda, 2006). Exploring the American culture, you will find many interesting things to learn and it might confuse you at some points. You will notice that the attitudes and behaviors of the people are solely based on their cultural values.
The real gain in America is that although it is made up of several different cultures, people love to identify themselves as American despite their native culture. From Europe to Asia, from Africa to Oceania, each culture can be seen in America, yet the dominant culture is American Culture. Although this unique aspect of diversity makes America proud, it raises several questions such as; why America is the heart of cultural diversity, how Americans have created this culture of diversity and inclusion and what is so special about it.
A former director of US Census Bureau, Kenneth Prewitt, said that we are on the right path of global community by being the first country made of all the parts of the Globe. In America, some of the respectful people formulated many important values that have given a shape and attitude to the people living in this state. These cultural values are the reason we see a peaceful and blooming state. These values ensure that every person in given all the rights despite their race, color or gender (Thelamour, 2016).
Some of the major diverse cultural norms you will experience in America are:
- Americans are taught to live an independent life and have their own life goals (Grenda, 2006).
- In the American culture, you are given complete privacy for all the matters of your life and interfering with someone’s privacy is considered rude (Grenda, 2006).
- Time is given importance in the American society and regardless of your race or identity, you are supposed to value your time and utilize it in the best manner (Grenda, 2006).
- In America, people prefer the informal and casual lifestyle. They will do what suits them the best and what they feel most comfortable in (Grenda, 2006).
- Children are educated based on their talents and inner qualities and parents are not allowed to force the future profession on them. As it is their life, they get to select what they want to do with it (Grenda, 2006).
These are some of the major reasons that have made America significantly diverse in cultural values and people prefer to move to the US because of these norms that display equality (Thelamour, 2016).
You must be wondering how America is managing such cultural diversity. Americans love to interact with people of other cultures; this sociability helps Americans to know about other cultures and people from around the globe to fit in easily with American culture. Additionally, Americans value the aspects of other cultural values, for instance, spirituality, gender roles, family relations and emotional well-being (Jack et al., 2013). This ability helps them to socialize without affecting others’ personal space. Moreover, media portrays a generic American culture and does not differentiate others regarding race, color, religion or culture. The materials used in the workplace and educational institutes are also culturally neutral; they value a person by his/her personal capabilities. This uniqueness of America is also represented in the survey of immigrants (Rueda et al., 2016), the results of which are mentioned in the figure.
Cultural diversity is often referred in the mainstream media as the multiculturalism. This term “multiculturalism” is defined as the recognition and respect of different diverse groups while acknowledging and valuing the cultural differences and encouraging the contribution of all towards the achievement of mutual goals by empowering them (Gay, 2013). This definition of multiculturalism by Caleb Rosado highlights seven key aspects of multiculturalism and how American Culture builds on these aspects to be the heart of cultural diversity of the world. These seven key aspects are recognition, respect, acknowledging, valuing, encouraging, empowering and celebrating (Chun & Sheldon, 2013). American culture is based on these seven characteristics, and it allows America to be more culturally diverse.
Living in America, you will have to face many cultural shocks but it will be the best experience, as you will get the chance to learn about people from different parts of the world. With time and patience, you will understand and appreciate America being the core of culture diversity.
So I asked a few colleagues who I work with in the US, what is special about America in terms of diversity?
Hayley, VA, College Student: “Living in America forces you to look outside of yourself and recognize that there is no universal or standard American and that is the beauty of it. “
Ana, Spain, Teacher” “It is easier to feel integrated because if you visited different countries it would feel like you are the only foreigner there, but here in the US you feel like you belong to the community and you can easily fit in … so you become more encouraged to freely express yourself.”
Steve, FL, Photographer: “It is refreshing, you have lots of opinions, and even though we don’t necessary all agree on specific things, we know how to live with each other in a peaceful way.”
Jessie, GA, Youth Cabin Counselor: “Hearing diverse opinions is how you learn because if you never talked to someone who disagreed with you or saw the world in a different way, you would never discover new possibilities.”
As you can see diversity is expressed in different ways, so feel free to share with me your thoughts in American diversity 🙂