American national identities.
National identity is an individual’s uniqueness and sense of belonging to a given nation. It is a feeling that a person a person shares with a group of people regardless of his or her citizenship status. Various studies have shown that national identity is not an inborn character, but results from the existence of elements from the mutual points in people’s regular lives like; language spoken by an individual, nations history, national symbols and national colors (Anthony, 1993). Also elements like blood ties, cuisine, national consciousness, music, radio and television watched. Patriotism is a positive expression of one’s national identity while chauvinism is a negative expression of a person’s national identity. A person that upholds the nationality of a given country will take part in the events held by the country like voting, attending political rallies, cooperating with the administration of the nation by paying taxes and also following keenly the projects undertaken by the government (Anthony, 1993).
The American identity is influenced by the culture of America which is primarily western, but it is also influenced by African, Polynesians, Native American, Latin American and Asian cultures. The United States has its own exceptional cultural and social features such as music, social habits, dialect, cuisine, arts and folklore. A possession of these exact characteristics then defines the identity of a person. This paper is going to debate some of the American identities (Anthony, 1993). .
First, the official language of America is English that was made the state language by the legislation passed by the 28 states. The census done in 2000 indicated that over 97% of the United States population could speak English well and for about 81% of the population is the only language spoken at home. There are also over than 300 dialects spoken in the United States which are spoken by the indigenous people and also immigrants (Lois, Judith, Rachel and Wiley, 2005). Second identity is the fine arts practiced in America. The American artists painted portraits and landscapes in a realistic style. The development of the arts took place in rural America and grew with the industrial revolution. The development in art in America is, as a result, of exhibitions that were held in New York City. After World War II America became the Centre of world art. The present painting and art work in America is very developed and includes a vast of styles (Lois, Judith, Rachel and Wiley, 2005).
The third uniqueness of America is theater that bases on western tradition. The emergence of Eugene O’Neill in the twentieth century brought a main shift in the theater after his drama performance. Social commentary is a preoccupation of the American theater addressing issues that are not addressed in the mainstream. The United States is a major exporter of modern musical theater producing the vast musical talents. The fourth character of America is the music that is produced and listened to in the country. The American music influences and styles such as rock, jazz, hip hop, country and rap are listened to all over the world. The music is very diverse and is influenced by African – American cultures. In mid-twentieth century, jazz music was very famous and was influenced by the African American in the south. Rock prevailed in the late twentieth century. The fifth identity is cinema and television in the United States. The cinema is commonly referred to as Hollywood that has influenced cinemas across the world since the twentieth century (Lois, Judith, Rachel and Wiley, 2005).
Different scholars have different views as to whether multiculturalism and globalization are weakening the American sense of attachment to the nation mostly among the minority groups. There are other conflicting views about the implication of stronger ethnic sense as opposed to national identity. Other scholars believe that the different ethnic groups that live in the United States have a strong sense of their ethnic ties than the national identity. They prefer to be recognized by their ethnic beliefs. On the other hand, other academicians hold that the national identity is very predominant that the ethnic ties are submerged. Other scholars regard ethnic pride as the source of individual self-esteem amongst cultural minorities that contribute to the achievement of their group goals. Others claim the group favoritism and emphasis on ethnic distinctiveness inevitably weakens common bonds and intensifies group conflict, raising the specter of cultural and political balkanization (Age of Revolution, 2014).
A nation-state denotes a group of persons possessing a common homeland. Nationalism, on the other hand, asserts that group of people sharing characteristics that distinguish them from others should be politically anonymous. The effective length of national identity is the feeling closeness to others and pride in one’s country and its symbols. The idea of patriotism is the exemplifying of positive emotion of love for one’s own homeland and people and use nationalism pejoratively, not technically, to designate arrogance and contempt towards other countries. Chauvinism is the term used to refer to an extreme and bounded loyalty (Age of Revolution, 2014).
Identity is an icy concept. It is a declaration of both sameness and differences that the individuals possess. Social distinctiveness of people is both an integration and a divider.it is, therefore, significant to comprehend the dimensions of social identity in pursuit of national identity. Biology, social structure, the government and the life cycle create the categories that demarcate social identities with potential political consequences. Therefore, some social identities are imposed, and others are optional (Age of Revolution, 2014).
The recent surveys indicate that Americans retain a strong positive sense of national identity. Multiculturalism asserts the need to maintain minority cultures within America and regards the symbol of assimilation with suspicion. The Americans prefer that the different cultural beliefs to be blended for a better nation. They believe that the American customs are key in influencing patriotism of the citizens. Nationalism is an integrating ideology that overrides the claims of less comprehensive group loyalties (Age of Revolution, 2014).
It is hard to shed a person’s nationality or ethnicity and almost not possible to change a person’s race or sex. Even though a person can acquire a particular social identity by social categorization, the identity must be affirmed by the agreement of the other members of the group. It is the same way nationality acquisition works. A person might claim to be of a certain nationality, but he/she can be told by fellow citizens that she/he does not share their national identity. Therefore, confirmation by other members of that said nationality is very important (Age of Revolution, 2014).
In summary, according to the large body of studies conducted, endorses that a positive sense of nationwide identity is universal in the United States as is the belief that there is a unique American identity shown by the examples of the identities in the essay. Societal and ethnic identity is another element of interest when it comes to national identity, which go a long way in influencing the national identity of persons. Patriotism is a positive feeling about the person’s nationality that is shown by the participation of the person in the different activities of the state while chauvinism is a negative feeling about one’s nation (Ralph, 2008).
Age of Revolution: Race, Citizenship, and National Identity. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved June 21, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGqs2AZolhU
Anthony D. S. (1993). National identity (Ethno nationalism in Comparative Perspective) University of Nevada Press ISBN 978-0-87417-204-1
P. R., Judith E. S., Rachel, L. R. and
Wiley-B., (2005). American Identities:
An Introductory Textbook, ISBN-10: 0631234322.
Ralph, Y., (2008). Dissent in America, Concise Edition, Prentice Hall, Concise edition. ISBN-10: 0205625894
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