The Idealistic Centerpiece Of American Heritage

1771 words - 8 pages

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” are the words that symbolically represent the notion that America is a land that opens its doors of freedom and equality to all. Many individuals from all backgrounds sought this land for its eternal promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, along the way some persons were at odds with finding an American identity due to the color of their skin and standard of living. The struggles of those that now called America home were on all platforms; social, economic, and cultural. Some were created more equal than others and this was the grim reality faced by many ethnic minorities. The toil of these people in improving their position in society regardless of circumstance is a prime example of the American dream. Through their perpetual struggle to form a distinct identity these people have left their mark on the coming generations and this is their greatest accomplishment. The cultural and economic struggles of individuals from all creeds and faiths collectively make up the melting pot that encompasses the American identity.
The American melting pot represents the cultural diffusion of various ethnically diverse individuals that collectively share the pursuit of this eternal promise of prosperity, the American dream. Through their distinct struggles and hardships, they have coined unique American identities. During the early 1930s and onwards, America was a culturally and ethnically diverse nation, with blacks, whites, and other minorities which had emigrated from their native countries. Blacks specifically faced the insurmountable obstacle of racial inequality in every aspect of life. In Black Boy, Richard’s perception of America reveals it’s shallow and self-absorbed nature “Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness” (Wright, 272-273). These are the qualities that made up the “American” outlook on life under which African Americans suffered racial division and exclusion from equal opportunity. The problem was not solely in the people that perpetuated injustices against African Americans but in the long standing culture of racial prejudice in America. The shortcomings of those that oppressed African Americans were a byproduct of the supremacist attitudes that were ingrained within them. Due to the pressures of society, African Americans sought to create an identity which defined them as individuals and agreed with their inner sentiments. Many took up sports and education as outlets to their personal strife. For these...

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