America Essay, Research Paper
America. The land of opportunity, the country that beckons to so many people, calling to them with the promise of freedom to live their lives as they see fit. As our National Anthem states, the United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave. The motto of the United States, E Pluribus Unum, means from many, one. The United States has always been known as a melting pot, a place where people from many different cultures coming together to form a unified whole. America is the country where dreams can come true.
In order to understand America, one must first look at the physical aspects. The United States is located in the North and West hemispheres of the globe. It is the third largest country in the world, after Russia and Canada. It also has the third largest population in the world, with an estimated 274,943,496 people in the year 2000. (Encarta 2000 Online) The United States consists of 48 continental states, plus Alaska and Hawaii. The United States has a rich and varied natural environment. Possessing all four of the world s most productive agricultural climates, the United States is one of the world s leading agricultural countries. The varied terrains have attracted many different groups of people.
America s population has always been bolstered by immigration. The high standard of living associated with life in the United States has brought many different people to our shores. While this has brought a lot of good to the country, it has unfortunately resulted in racism. Gloria Yamato defines racism as the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of one group of people by another based on racial heritage. (Rothenberg 152) Americans have always believed that they are the best, that no other country in the world can surpass them. This leads to a feeling of superiority when it comes to dealing with people of different races. The most obvious example of racism is in our dealings with African Americans. We forced them to come to our country, made them slaves, and then supposedly freed them while making laws which made it perfectly legal to separate them from us. If America is truly the land of the free, then why are African Americans still fighting for equality today? To put a stop to racism, we need to understand it. Every human being has the responsibility to understand everything he/she makes a judgment about. People just don t take the time to understand racism and therefore, we can t put a stop to it. As Gloria Yamato stated in her essay, so, what can we do? Acknowledge racism for a start, even though and especially when we ve struggled to be kind and fair, or struggled to rise above it all. (Rothenberg 153) That s the first big step to understanding racism; acknowledging its existence. People don t want to believe that racism is real because it is an ugly thing. It mars the perfect beauty of the United States. Unfortunately, racism is not something that will be ended anytime soon. There are too many ignorant people out there who are perfectly content with the way things are now.
Another aspect of population in the United States is gender. Over half the population of the country are women, yet they still have to fight for equality. Women wage an ongoing battle for equality in much the same way as other racial minorities. Women are constantly harassed on the choices they make, whether it concerns their personal life or their careers. As stated by Marilyn Frye, If she is heterosexually active, a woman is open to censure and punishment for being loose, unprincipled or a whore. (Rothenberg 147) Men are not treated this way, so why should women? In our society it seems to be perfectly all right for a man to have promiscuous sex, but if a woman does it, she s a tramp. On the other hand, if she refrains from heterosexual activity, she is fairly constantly harassed by men who try to persuade her into it and pressure her to relax and let her hair down ; she is threatened with labels like frigid, uptight, man-hater, bitch, and cocktease. (Rothenberg 147) Women are not only discriminated against in their personal life, but also in the workplace, as exhibited in the article we read for class, The Wage Gap: Myths and Facts. Compiled by the National Committee on Pay Equity, this article illustrated some of the differences between men and women in the workplace. In 1995, 98.5% of women were secretaries but only 13.4% were dentists. (Rothenberg 234) This shows the roles that are believed to acceptable for women. The number of women in the more sensitive, caring professions, such as nurses and teachers, is much larger than the number of women involved in more lucrative careers, such as lawyers and physicians. Also in 1995, white men earned an average of $32,172 for the year. White women only earned $22,911, which is only 71.2% of what the men earned. (Rothenberg 235) Women are getting paid less for doing the same jobs as men do! To end the oppression of women, Marilyn Frye says that we need to look at the problem as a whole and not just as individual parts. (Rothenberg 148) It basically comes down to understanding the problem, then working together to fix it.
America is a very diverse country. Not only do we have many different cultures and races represented here; we have people of our own race and culture living different lifestyles. All of these classify as diversity and are a large part of what made America the way it is today. Normally, diversity is welcomed and appreciated, but there are times when it is not. One example we discussed in class was homosexuality. People are often scared of what they don t understand and most people don t take the time to understand homosexuality. Instead, they persecute those who choose to live a different lifestyle from us and make them feel like they don t belong. Obviously, homosexuality isn t the only example of diversity in the United States. People from around the world come to America and bring their culture with them. If it weren t for those people, America wouldn t be what it is today.
Another aspect of America is education. The United States has one of the most extensive and diverse educational systems in the world. Educational institutes exist at all levels, from nursery schools for the very young to higher education, such as universities. These institutions provide the citizens of the United States with the means to get the most out of their lives. While not an entirely perfect system, education in America exceeds the education programs in many other countries. Through these institutes of higher learning, people can finally band together and banish the ignorance that pervades our society and gives birth to such issues as racism and sexism.
The most positive aspect of America is freedom. In a very general sense, America gives people the opportunity to live their lives the way they want to. If they choose to go against the laws, then they will be punished, but what matters is that they had the right to choose that path. In America, you can literally be anything you want to be. It won t be handed to you, but with a little bit of hard work and effort, your dreams can come true. America is a place where you can voice your opinions without having to live in constant fear of being punished for your beliefs. You may not be completely accepted, but at least you have the chance to stand up for your beliefs. In America, you can truly be the person you want to be.
While not entirely perfect, America has a lot going for it. There is no other place in this world where you can find the same opportunities offered in America. America is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave.