Archive for January 20th, 2010

What is America?

January 20th, 2010

Sunday, I slept in after a good night with some friends. On Saturday night we had some interesting conversation about the United States. I was talking to a friend from India, a friend from Pakistan, a friend from the US, and a friend from Palestine/Egypt. Our American friend brought up that many people say that they are not proud of being American. Or that some international students say that they dislike America. The American also expressed that he was not happy with immigrants who refuse to call themselves American, even after living in the United States for many years. He said that he was proud to be an American. Our Indian friend said that she will always be an Indian. Even though she might live in the United States in the future, her culture will always be present in her household. Our Palestinian friend also expressed that he will always be an Arab and that his children will definitely be Arabs too. However, he added that if his children choose to identify themselves as Americans, he will accept that. In the beginning of the conversation, it was mostly four international students against one American. The American kept stressing that we all study in the United States and that us studying here is part of how America is defined. Eventually, people started giving in. The Palestinian mentioned that he is not even welcomed by all of the Arab countries, but that the United States accepts him. Later, others joined in and expressed some form of gratitude for being able to live and study in the United States. Although we all have our criticisms of the United States, we certainly don’t come from perfect places ourselves. The United States might have its wrongdoings, but the fact that a Palestinian, a Dutchman, a Pakistani, an Indian, and an American can discuss what it means to be in this country, shows that America is a great place at the same time.

Bastiaan