Connections Between Lewis Lapham's Essay, "Who And What Is America?" And Christopher Edley, Jr.'s Essay "The New American Dilemma: Racial Profiling Post 9/11"

1295 words - 5 pages

Unified America Lewis Lapham's essay, "Who and What is America?" raises the subject that all Americans share a "unified field of emotion" and how we disguise "the noun" American. This unified field of emotion is what connects all of the citizens' communities together, making the nation a stronger place. According to Lapham, the unified field of emotion helps Americans form communities and agree on similar ideas, such as religious, cultural and political beliefs. The field of emotion gives power and strength to the communities to agree and live with each other no matter what social class or race. There are factors that influence what Americans desire, what we believe, and how we identify others and ourselves. Friends, family and the media affect Americans' views and what we see ourselves as. Not all Americans can consider identifying themselves as "the noun" American. The media and the politicians try to categorize Americans and split us into groups turning one against another. Politics turn Democratic Americans against Republican Americans and the media turns white Americans against Americans of color. As a result, the sense of feeling as one nation is lost, causing prejudice, dishonesty, and hate. Christopher Edley, Jr. states in his essay "The New American Dilemma: Racial Profiling Post-9/11" that our diversity is what makes our nation strong, but this strength can be seen only when our diverse nation acts as one. Edley correctly emphasizes that when we identify ourselves as a plain American without a subordination, we are able to speak with candor and truth.Americans have a common cause, and a bond that we share. This connection can exists no matter what race, age, or gender a person is. The bond gives us the emotion of being American, which Lapham states:What we share is a unified field of emotion, but if we mistake the sources of our energy and courage (i.e., if we think that our uniqueness as Americans rests with the adjectives instead of the noun) then we can be rounded up in categories and sold the slogan of the week for the fear of the month. (188)If we let our nation to be scattered into groups and categories, our bond and unified field of emotion will cease to exist. People must not believe that strength and courage comes from trying to be different and unique, but rather our strength comes from letting go of our disguises and uniting to become a plain American. While Edley is correct to emphasize that "America's diversity is a source of strength", he fails to state that only when our diverse nation unites, the source of our energy and courage is seen. When a person puts the adjective in front of the noun American, not only does he identify himself as being separate from the public, but also the public itself has its own opinion and sees the person different from them. For example, if someone considers himself or herself as a rich American, he will separate himself from Americans that aren't rich, and everyone else will see that...

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