In America, the question “where are you from?” gets a wide variety of answers. Very Few people will respond with “America.” Most people will say something involving a lot of countries and percentages no one really cares about. I personally just respond with, “I’m German” and leave it at that. It has recently come to my attention that Americans are the only people that do this. The reason seems simple to me. It is not that we are not proud to be from America, some people are dangerously proud of it. But America is a melting pot. We do not have our own culture, we take bits and pieces from the rest of the world.
I was raised with the German culture deeply ingrained as part of my life, from the language, to the food, clothing, and the way I live everyday life, though my mother is many things, but mostly Native American. I say I am German not because that was the country I was born in, but because that was the culture I was raised in. I went to Germany to visit family a few years ago and there was very few instances in which I did not understand or fit into the culture. (The only cases I can think of was when we got parking ticket and when we were asked about German politics. I don’t even follow American politics.) German culture has always been a huge part of my life, just as tons of other cultures have been part of other Americans’ lives.
America does not have a culture of its own, so we make a jumble of other cultures and call it our own. It’s a bit of a mess sometimes, but it keeps things interesting. This is another reason why I have such a big problem with Americans not accepting the culture of others, even of other Americans. The amount of times I have heard people say, “Go back to your own country,” makes me absolutely sick. I am sure this is not only a problem in America, but I can only speak for what I know. What I know is this: America, the self-proclaimed “land of the free,” who preaches “liberty and justice for all,” does not even bother practicing what it preaches.
People are told constantly to learn to speak English before they come to America, despite America not having an official language. This infuriates me. Americans are rude and flat out mean to anyone who displays their culture outside of their own home, which is absolutely ridiculous. We have no culture of our own, yet reject that of others, like people in America are simply to live without it. We have our own food (kind of) and landmarks and things to see and sometimes, but rarely, our own style, but we have not been around long enough to have things that only happen with time, like traditions and language and values. We are a messy mish mosh of other cultures, lifestyles derived from all over the world, yet we reject other people who stick with one culture. It’s wrong and hypocritical and just plain ridiculous.