What Does It Mean To Be An American Essay Example

Traits of an American

American lawyer, Ed Koch once said “Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.” Stereotypes made towards Americans, like “fattest country in the world” or “lazy” couldn’t be further from the definition of a true American. There are many definitions of what it means to be an American. Therefore.. LEAVE THIS FOR NOW AND COME BACK AFTER YOU DID THE BIGGER THINGS ( People have a fixed idea on immigrants and “the migrants are taking our jobs” they drive down wages” they are costing our country money, “they are only here for the benefits” ) Usually, when the words “American” or “to be American” come to mind, some people may see it as being able to have hope or a dream, a dream that could only be obtained in America. Being an American ultimately means that one is offered freedom as a given right and multiple opportunities through hard work.

In America when freedom is given to those who need it, a door to new chances open up. America, known as the land of opportunity, the country that draws attention to many, calls to others with the promise of freedom. Our National Anthem declares that the United States is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” In Emma Lazarus’s poem, “The New Colossus,” she mentions a “golden door.” Gold is obviously a precious metal, and if this door is made of gold leading to a place, it can be inferred that it will lead to a new place to a start of a better life than they had before. What’s so life-changing about what lies behind this golden door? “The New Colossus” talks about immigrants coming to the United States and by making that move, they were presented with a second chance but most importantly, economic opportunity. Many of these newcomers came expecting to enhance themselves in ways that were not possible if they had stayed and not moved forward. This would have been seen as very precious to the immigrants. Therefore, in this poem the “golden door” is the start to various opportunities that were not possible in Europe but could be found in the United States.

However, hard work is needed in order to be able to achieve better opportunities. All immigrants, from the moment they step foot into this country, are offered the most basic opportunities. Unfortunately, residents of the United States tend to stereotype immigrants as intruders or even job-snatchers which shows how easy it is to forget how America was built on back-breaking labor. In “America and I”, the author Anzia Yezierska talks about her first job in America and the difficulties she faced: “My own money. Money to buy a new shirt on my back- shoes on my feet. Maybe yet an American dress and hat…’Wages? Money?’ the four eyes turned into hard stone as they looked me up and down. ‘Haven’t you had a comfortable bed to sleep? And three good meals a day? You’re only a month here.”(Yezierska 19) Although she worked for a month and had a job, she still wasn’t paid and was looked down on even after her hard work. Immigrants like Anzia Yezierska are willing to sacrifice their bodies to do work that Americans can’t or won’t do. To earn money it took sweat, effort, it was a 5000-calorie-a-day work, done by immigrants, prisoners, and slaves.

Seeing that immigrants did lots of work he word freedom has a magical connotation to it. Those immigrants came to America for it. It was their desire to be free in a land of opportunity. It was what they came after.
So what my idea was, was this: we can show that immigrants get a better pay after enduring all those days of hard work-kind of like after day by day, hard work pays of and you can use that money on whatever, because america is a free country, explaining freedom. That’s my idea so far to replace slavery for this paragraph.

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