What Is An American? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   Some people don't deserve to live in America, and they know who they are. There are many demons riding on the coattails of American society today, but perhaps none is more hateful, disgusting or upsetting than the national crisis of racism. America was founded on the belief that all men are created equal, which applies to all Americans, and not the select few who were here two hundred years ago, killing Native Americans.

Perhaps the problem lies in our inability to define exactly what an American is. To some, an American is one who is a citizen of the United States of America no matter where s/he was born. To others the only real Americans are those who were born here, or those who look a certain way or act the same way they do, to them an American is only what they perceive one to be.

To me, an American is an individual who believes in his or her own human rights to believe and act in any way s/he wants.

But what do you do when some Americans decide that they don't like a certain ethnic or racial group, and then hide behind the Constitution or the legal system, claiming that they are doing what is best for America, and that other people are "un-American" and unpatriotic? This is happening today all across our great democracy, and what can we really do about it? About fifty years ago a certain individual by the name of Adolph Hitler said he was going to help Germany by getting rid of ethnic and racial groups that were "hurting Germany." He killed millions of Catholics, blacks, Jews, as well as countless thousands of people deemed unfit by a few, because they did not act or think like he did.

Many people claim that such a thing could never happen again, but just turn on the evening news, and watch the latest reports from the former Yugoslavia.

Maybe such an atrocity could never happen in America, but every time racial epithets are uttered by thoughtless Americans, we are carried one step closer to increased problems and tension in this country. Perhaps if there were a definition of America written down, not in the dictionaries or libraries, but in the hearts and minds of every American who told us what it means to live here, in this country, then perhaps we could get somewhere. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback