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Old 01-29-2019, 09:00 AM
 
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These questions are a result of another P&OC thread about Tom Brokaw's comment that Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. In reading the 17 or so pages of posts on that thread, I have seen no responses so far that directly answered this.

From what I have read, in the past, people viewed the majority of Americans as people who:

- City dwellers were loud, brash,and "pushy"; and rural people were uneducated "hicks"
- Worked hard to get ahead and had a "can do" attitude about almost everything
- Valued material success more than almost anything else, except possibly immediate family
- Had little respect for titles or inherited wealth, but they also had contempt for the very poor
- Were English-speaking, white, and Christian
- Were very patriotic and proud about settling a new country, rebelling against England, and then creating a new "free and equal" country for all white men

Then, starting in the 50's, I think that American culture became synonymous with the youth culture of that time -- blue jeans, rock and roll, and flagrant sexuality. (In short, very liberal and rebellious of traditional and conservative values).

Again, I am not saying that any of the above is necessarily true, but is just what I have gathered from my reading.

However, now in the 21st century, I don't believe that there is any truly and uniquely "American culture" at all, and that is why I think no one could could provide an answer as to what it is. Can you?

Last edited by katharsis; 01-29-2019 at 09:10 AM..
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:22 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katharsis View Post
From what I have read, in the past, people viewed the majority of Americans as people who:
Who spoke English, even if poorly or with help, and aspired to assimilate and progress.
The rest is just degrees of distracting detail.
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Old 01-29-2019, 10:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
Who spoke English, even if poorly or with help, and aspired to assimilate and progress.
The rest is just degrees of distracting detail.
People in England spoke English, and most people in Ireland and Scotland spoke English starting in about the 18th century. What I am asking is what distinguishes American culture from other cultures.

Of course, other counties are comprised of mostly Christians, people who are industrious, etc., etc., but what list of characteristics, together,, make up the American culture?

My belief is that this question cannot be answered, but I am open to reading posts from anyone who disagrees with me, and to possibly having my mind changed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_English

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_language
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:03 PM
 
Location: East of the Mississippi and South of Bluegrass
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Both of my parents are from the south (it's own unique culture), we children were all born and raised in Chicago and even back then (mid 1950's) we lived in a neighborhood of complete "cultural diversity". We children didn't realize it at that time but it broadened our horizons and became part and parcel of who we were to become...in a very good way we were prepared for the future and never bat an eyelash at the diversity around us or ahead of us.

Italian and Polish family, American Indian, Polish family, family from Finland, Italian & Irish, Italian, Mexicans, Russian Jewish (Ashkenazi Jews), Colombian family, and an Irish family next to them.

They all came with their culture and languages intact and shared their cuisines and life stories with us and it was all quite common for us. They ALL spoke English (some broken and with an accent) as well as the languages of their motherlands.

My point in telling this is to say that I have known inherently what American Culture was and is about. Yes, today it has changed completely as we did not experience Muslim, Syrian, African, Ethiopian, etc. but I maintain (and in the end) we are still the "melting pot" of the world", the world as changed and with it the culture of its new arrivals to America. It seems that most of our new immigrants and their collective cultures are from South America AND there doesn't appear to be a desire to speak English, work for a living but would rather feel "at home" in America without total immersion and adapting to the American way of living, jmho.

American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States

American culture encompasses the customs and traditions of the United States. "Culture encompasses religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, how we behave with loved ones, and a million other things," said Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London.

The United States is the third largest country in the world with a population of more than 325 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A child is born every 8 seconds, and a person dies every 12 seconds.

In addition to Native Americans who were already living on the continent, the population of the United States was built on immigration from other countries. Despite recent moves to close the U.S. borders to new immigrants and refugees, a new immigrant moves to the United States every 33 seconds, according to the Census Bureau.

https://www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Teach an Fhir Bholg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
Who spoke English, even if poorly or with help, and aspired to assimilate and progress. The rest is just degrees of distracting detail.
Interesting comment. I grew up in a prosperous western NY State village of 5,000 in the Forties and Fifties. The comment pretty much applies to what we were taught in school - and what was avoided in school classes.

However, life in the community did not reflect what was taught in school. The "degrees of distracting detail" were what made the community. There was a fairly large Sicilian immigrant community - the older ones had no interest in assimilation. Being white was certainly superior to being African-American, even a well-educated African-American with middle class goals. The town had a large Catholic minority, and many Protestants regarded it as a whole and individuals in it with lofty disdain. The handful of Jews were only superficial integrated, and unexamined anti-Semitism was very, very common. People of Sicilian and African-American descent were often referred to as lazy, the fact that they all worked in the local factories, or doing manual labor for the village and town or had small businesses was ignored.

It was a truly wonderful town, but a large number of us were quite aware that sentiments such as the above quote, and the bland poop-snaggle of high school history classes were disingenuous whitewash over a much more rough and ready exciting reality.

I am inclined to agree with the OP that none of the old descriptions really fit, unless, perhaps, you could also include their flip side for some reality-toning.

As for now (I emigrated to Europe 20 years ago), I am repeatedly taken aback by how very, very little the U.S. college students I meet or eavesdrop on know about their country's history or cultural past. In comparison to what I knew in h.s. and university so many are "un-American" boobs in these areas.

I lean toward the conclusion that many younger Americans nowadays don't really have very deep roots in their country's past. I wonder if in the age of digital this and that and I-am-my-things if younger Americans are significantly different from young Brits at the end of the day. It appears to me that post-WW II America founded a political, cultural and technological empire and has now been eaten up by it.

Last edited by kevxu; 01-29-2019 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:13 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
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The way I see it, American culture is still a work in progress and is presently made up of a patch work of other cultures who are mostly all at odds with each other instead of being united. It hasn't had enough time to possess its own distinctive and all-encompassing culture other than presently being identified as a warrior nation that strives for global power. Give it another three or four hundred years to evolve some more and maybe it will possess a truly American culture of its own that isn't all about war and power.


.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:35 PM
 
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I think part of the problem in identifying American culture is the U.S. was, and is, a young country that was, and is, just becoming. We haven't fused into one people with one culture because that takes centuries and that is complicated now by the huge influx of new people becoming americans. I think in the future we will be many cultures of many different ethnic groups.
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Angorlee View Post
I think part of the problem in identifying American culture is the U.S. was, and is, a young country that was, and is, just becoming. We haven't fused into one people with one culture because that takes centuries and that is complicated now by the huge influx of new people becoming americans. I think in the future we will be many cultures of many different ethnic groups.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
The way I see it, American culture is still a work in progress and is presently made up of a patch work of other cultures who are mostly all at odds with each other instead of being united. It hasn't had enough time to possess its own distinctive and all-encompassing culture other than presently being identified as a warrior nation that strives for global power. Give it another three or four hundred years to evolve some more and maybe it will possess a truly American culture of its own that isn't all about war and power.
I think there is truth to both the above posts, but I wonder how, if there is a "salad bowl" of different cultures, how that could translate to just one general "American culture"? Or maybe, eventually, perhaps the 'salad' could become more like a casserole, with a sauce and some kind of pasta (or whatever) as a unifying base.

Also, if it would take another couple of hundred years to develop more of an American (U.S.) identity, wouldn't most countries be similarly multicultural by that time? I do know that many people think that we are heading for a "one world" system now, anyway, and I think that might be true -- although I don't think it will happen in our lifetime.

Last edited by katharsis; 01-29-2019 at 12:57 PM..
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:56 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katharsis View Post
My belief is that this question cannot be answered...
Of course it can be answered.
I already did even if limited to the simpler approach

The problem is that the nature of the longer answers will create an ever expanding scope of recurring circles
and speculative offshoots. Not any sort of concrete clear cut statement that you can call for a full stop at the end of.
When you do stop it'll look like an Escher print.
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What is "American culture"?  Is there such a thing now?-stairpeople.jpg  
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Old 01-29-2019, 12:58 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
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Yes, although there are cultures within the American culture.
Blacks have a culture. So do Southerners, Montanans, New Yorkers, Californians, American Indians, some Chinese, some Hispanics and so forth.


It's like the Celts of Europe. There was a Celtic culture, but various tribes within the Celtic culture (there was no Celtic race) had their own variations.
Today, the Celts are all gone, but they are still here. Most of us who are descended from Europeans have some Celt ancestors, even if they extend to far back to acknowledge.


What is it? ....... It's our work standards, our standard of living and what is called middle class, the people we admire, the way we run our government, our sports, our cars, our clothes, ......
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