|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||United States America American culture|
There are behaviors that identify us as Americans and form the foundation of our culture. Most of Americans are not only rash but also disciplined. For example, though we hate having to queue, we are used to waiting in line so much that when a new gadget or movie comes out, the world gets to witness well-organized Americans standing in line. Culture involves traditions or customs such as food, clothing, religion, fashion, and decorum. The paper provides a brief description of contemporary American customs focusing on the background of the U.S., language, beliefs, sustenance, arts and the top trends that define who we are as Americans.
Being home to at least 325 million people, America is the third most populated country on earth. A newborn is delivered each 8 seconds while approximately one American passes away each dozen seconds (Crothers n.d.). Other than the Native Indian Americans who were already found inhabiting this continent, the U.S. is mostly populated by immigrants who came from other parts of the world including Africa and Europe. Further, due to the influence of these immigrants, America has grown immensely as a diverse country whose culture has been inspired by people from all walks of life. The distinct characteristics introduced to the United States by various cultures have swayed our way of life to the point that we influence the rest of the world while maintaining distinct traditions in the Western, Northeastern, Midwestern, and Southern areas of America.
The average American cares about their individuality, liberties, and faith (Mumford). Since freedom of expression has been emphasized in the constitution, every citizen acknowledges that their personal opinions matter and we do not shy away from voicing it especially via social media channels (Crothers n.d.). Is this why the levels of discord and extremism have escalated over the years? Americans are also concerned about their social image and will use the tools available to them, like social media, to make it look far more attractive than it is; it is no wonder camera filters have become mainstream.
The irony is that we also value authenticity and obsess about celebrities who are perceived as honest and able to 'keep it real.' Other than in New York City, no pun intended, American citizens have realized that being courteous makes them no less valiant and have been observed to accommodate and become helpful to strangers (Crothers n.d.). Americans also worry a lot about economic success and have been known to worship billionaires like Warren Buffet and Donald Trump who get away with publishing jingoist ideas. We also see friendly competition as a means of boosting morale and view academia as a status symbol.
The American government declared that the country has no official language though English is the predominant dialect. In fact, at least 90% of the population can communicate in this language. Other languages that are commonplace include Chinese, German, and Spanish. According to The Census Bureau, more than 250 languages are spoken every day in America (Mumford n.d.). To make sense of all these dialects, the bureau has categorized them into four distinct groups; Spanish, Indo-European, Asian and the Pacific Landmass, and the rest.
In the spirit of religious freedom, almost every religion known to man is observed by someone in America. However, 71% of U.S. citizens subscribe to Christian ideologies while roughly 23% belonged to no specific religious group (the percentage is expected to drop to about 13% by 2060) (Chaves 7). Additionally, 6% of American practice religions other than Christianity such as Islam and Jew.
Americans wear clothes depending on their economic status, geographical location, job, and climate. Some of the most common attires are jeans, boots, hats, caps, and sneakers. The cowboy and sports culture have introduced outfits like cowboy boots and baseball caps that are favorites among a significant population of Americans (Mumford 23). What we wear is also influenced by the celebrities who frequent the mainstream media and brands like Calvin Klein and Gucci have leveraged the fame of some rappers and musicians to maximize sales.
American cuisine is a product of Native and European influences and is the origin of popular foods like meatloaf, hamburger, apple pie, macaroni & cheese and hot dogs (Pillsbury 27). Americans also have different cooking techniques. Southerners are associated with comfort foods like cornbread and fried chickens whereas those living in the Southwest and regions around Texas enjoy mixing Mexican and Spanish techniques to conjure up delectable dishes such as burritos.
Arts and Sports
America produces 33% of all cable and movie content in the global entertainment industry. We also enjoy Broadway (New York being the worldwide headquarters), and our history is laden with theatricals (Mumford 27). The music scene is also influenced by styles like hip-hop, RnB, jazz and rock. Popular sports in America are basketball, swimming, hockey, tennis, and baseball (which is the country's preferred pastime).
Trends Influencing American Culture
Racial diversity in America is fuelled by immigration. Surprisingly, Hispanics are now the most significant population of minorities in the country, surpassing the African American race. Moreover, women have come together to fight for equal rights in the workplace especially regarding income inequality (Crothers n.d.). The #MeToo Movement has also helped victims of sexual harassment raise their voice. Further, more Americans are learning about global warming and efforts to lower the average American's carbon footprint is currently away. Though President Trump continues to remove restrictions meant to enhance environmental sustainability while insisting that Climate Change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese to slow down America's economic growth, the U.S. hopes that the Green New Deal recently introduced by the Democrats will garner support.
The country remains anxious about the lurking threat from terrorism. The airports have increased security checks and even introduced X-ray machines, doubling down on Muslims from the Middle East even though most of the acts of terror are carried out by American Citizens. What's more, in the 1980s, people could smoke cigarettes everywhere, but nowadays tobacco companies cannot even advertise of TV due to the adverse effects they pose on our lives. However, the consumption of marijuana has escalated owing to its legalization and the medical benefits of THC and CBD.
Generally, the introduction of a plethora of other subcultures in America has proven that even though our forefathers came from different backgrounds, certain similarities make us all American. These similarities can be observed in the types of food we eat, what we wear, who we worship, and what type of games we play.
Chaves, Mark AA. American religion: Contemporary trends. Princeton University Press, 2017.
Crothers, Lane. Globalization and American popular culture. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.
Mumford, Lewis. The culture of cities. Vol. 19. Open Road Media, 2016.
Pillsbury, Richard. No foreign food: the American diet in time and place. Routledge, 2018.
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