The more I write about culture, the more I realize I know very little about the subject. Culture is one of the most interesting subjects to me because even if we don`t like to admit it, it shapes who we are and how we react to what our senses tell us. Tasking dishes from all over the world has taught me that food should be judged by taste and not how pretty it looks. Reading about culture and discussing it has also told me that Americans do not know what their culture is.
Reading the American Heritage post by Josh Rosenau and having a discussion about language with some friends I have come to think that most Americans have no clue about what American Culture is supposed to be. I cannot even count how many times I have heard the “you have to speak English” tirade, and even though I agree with it I also believe in keeping my own culture alive.
I have dated white American woman and they could not be any more different from one another when it came to the definition of culture, family and values. It wasn`t until I started dating someone from my own country as an adult that I realized how much of my culture I was compromising and hiding under the being “American” banner.
I have also realized that American is a salad bowl and not a melting pot. Even though the quilt that it is American culture is very colorful there seems to be a need to keep it not just white, but white Christian fundamentalist protestant. When you think that American culture is just meat and potatoes and leave out enchiladas or chilli for that matter you are missing the whole picture. Any time that people talk about immigration as a problem because we are going to lose American heritage and language we seem to forget not only where the word lunch came from, but that almost everyone here knows what a taco and a burrito is… funnier even than in Mexico most people are going to think of a little donkey rather than an overstuffed flour tortilla.
While in my political views I do think that illegal immigration is a problem, I do not believe in someone saying that Latin American`s are attacking American Culture and heritage. I believe that what makes this country awesome is the mixture that I experience in Chicago where I could find awesome Polish food as well as several Colombian restaurants. It was also good to know that there was a little Italy, Greece, Mexico and of course Chinatown. I believe they are all American and keeping those cultures alive is just as important as making sure our education system becomes stronger.
If it was up to Jefferson, this would still be a country of only farming and all of the industry would have stayed in Europe. Some people should really watch the movie The Village, even though I hated it, and see that what they are shooting for is a sad reality where you just stick to your own and believe blindly instead of living and learning.
I once again challenge people to define to me American Culture as a single set of all encompassing rules that I should adhere to… however, I am not going to give up my own heritage to go live in a farm and eat meat and potatoes every day.