Yesterday, I heard a blogger say, “There is no such thing as American culture.” Really dude? In which world are you living? Of course that there is an “American Culture” and you know exactly what it is composed of. I can’t resit — Now, I have to write a blog post about “American Culture” because clearly… there are too many folks out there in a state of denial about their own cultural values and beliefs. Let me help you. Are you ready to learn the obvious and celebrate your culture? The American Culture? Here we go.
Americans are de facto a people of quite unique characteristics who for the most part have come from somewhere. It isn’t uncommon to meet USA citizens who have family roots in Germany, Spain, Ghana, Japan, India… You name it. It is common, however, for many to believe that because the composition of the country is ethnically diverse, culture is then also diverse. No it isn’t. In this article I will share with you evidence to support this former position and perhaps once and for all — prove that America has a clearly defined American culture. So Let’s get started.
- Americans are individualistic. I don’t care which color you are, which state you were born in, if you are a member of the low or high class, you name it… American citizens are individualistic. There are exceptions to the rule I am sure. I have to admit that after living in this country for 18 years, I haven’t seen too much display of collectivism around here. The American people rarely if ever value the value of a group over the value of an individual. How do I know this? Look at how depressing federal income tax day is “celebrated” in this country. If we were a collectivist country, we would celebrate paying 30% of what we owe to others in the name of collectivism. Do we celebrate giving away our returns for the benefit of others and smile? You answer this one for me.
- Americans are very independent. Most Americans I know of don’t rely on help from others to get stuff done. People just do it even at an older age. It is no accident that the country has created basketball, baseball, American Football, and many other games. Perhaps, there is an American culture where individuals look at the act of being independent positively. I have seen 80+ year old employees working full-time at Wal-Mart which to me is an incredible accomplishment. There is no question in my mind that Americans are much more independent than most countries across the globe.
- Like to be different from each other. Let me ask you this. Would you like to buy a nice colorful sweater and witness another person using this same sweater in a meeting that you will need to attend? I don’t know about you but I would rather have my clothes be specially done for me. I like being different and it seems obvious to me that you like it, as well. We are different. You are small — I am big. You are short — I am tall. I am a meat person; you are a fish person. I play backgammon in the morning; You play solitaire at night. I do A — You do G. It is cultural.
Let’s not forget that asking “How are you?” is simply a greeting and is not a question about your health. Isn’t it true that when the service is good in a restaurant, tipping is expected sometimes to be 15–20% of the bill? Usually, when buddies meet at a public restaurant they each pay their part of the bill or split the bill in half. Isn’t the former notoriously American? Do you go to somebody else’s house uninvited? Do you give money to a deceased family member in a funeral? No, right?
Yesterday, I heard a blogger say, “There is no such thing as American culture.” Really dude? In which world are you living? Of course that there is an “American Culture.” Americans are individualistic, very independent, and like to be different from each other. Some like to play bridge where others play a great game of chess. I have never seen two people dress the same way with the same clothes since I arrived in this country in 1998. If Americans don’t have a culture, I am the queen of England.