Friday, December 19, 2008

American Language?

From Modinator:

American. What does it mean to be American? Is it a different species of human altogether? That is what Crevecoeur said in the 1830’s. I agree with him because I have seen what Americans have done to the English language. They have butchered it. It is very different from how the citizens of England speak. He says that Americans are selfish in a good way, and this is true, for Americans do not want to part with the money they earned. President Roosevelt has another explanation for “American”. He says that an American is extremely patriotic. That if an immigrant wants to keep his original culture and be American, he should leave right away. I think this is being patriotic to the farthest extent, and that today, many people are not so patriotic as to not be hyphenated-Americans, and America is still not on the verge of total collapse. Psychologist John Garther says that Americans with immigrant background are risk takers. Psychiatrist Peter Whybrow says that Americans have a whole different allele that makes them risk takers. I disagree with both of these because some people are forced out of their countries and some others do not risk much. They have relatives already living in America and they stay with them until they can care for themselves.


From lvdrlvr55:

“Proud to be an American.” We hear this phrase so often, and yet, do we really know what it means? What, exactly, does it mean to be called an American? Are Americans set apart solely because of their citizenship or are there a certain set of beliefs - an American ideal - that makes us unique? Or perhaps, as suggested by some, we, the inhabitants of the United States, all possess a distinctive, risk-taking gene somewhere within our DNA that provided us with the motivation to leave everything we had ever known and start anew in a foreign land – namely, the United States of America.

The American legacy, one of heroic accomplishments and courageous feats far exceeding anybody’s expectations, is not one to be reckoned with. And yet, the fact remains that we are a nation of immigrants. There is nobody – not even the Native Americans – who/whose ancestors did not emigrate here from a foreign country at some point in time. Knowing this, some have been led to believe that anyone and everyone who lives in the US possesses the same distinctive, risk-taking gene somewhere within their genetic makeup. Perhaps somewhere within our DNA there exists a gene that motivated us all to leave our homes, take a risk, and start fresh here in the United States. But on the other hand, is it really possible that an entire nation made up of people of all different ethnic and racial backgrounds would share the same distinctive gene within their genetic makeup? After all, what are the chances of that happening? And even if that were true, a stable country with a functional government would never be able to succeed if it was based entirely off of daring, risk-taking people.

On the contrary, there are those who believe that Americans of foreign birth or origin may bear some form of allegiance to their home country rather than full loyalty to America. President Woodrow Wilson himself regarded “hyphenated Americans” with suspicion, saying "Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready." But who says that one can’t be an American ­and sympathetic to one’s homeland at the same time? We came to America to seek out the opportunity to succeed, the prospect of living a better life than we may have been able to live had we stayed in our home country. Furthermore, if we prejudice against “hyphenated Americans,” then aren’t we basically prejudicing against our founding fathers and all first generation Americans who came here and started the nation in the first place? Who then, is a true American?

But perhaps there is no need for one to possess a certain gene or be born in the USA in order to be an American. The fact remains that we are a nation of immigrants; one of many cultures, languages, races, and ethnicities (as previously stated). Our diversity and the risk we took in coming here to the USA sets us apart from all others, whether or not we share the same DNA strand or were born here.

American DNA

From Cheez:

American DNA?

What makes an American? If we compare crazy teenagers to wrinkled senior citizens, there must be something that brought us together in the first place. We’ve been viewed through the eyes of foreigners, as well as our own fellow Americans. Our own ancestors, whether a parent or great-great grandparent or even later, have had to make the same journey to find our just how promising the Land of Opportunity was.

The first two passages, written in the 1830s by a foreigner by the name of Crevecoeur, reflects his views on what America means. He believes that an American can leave behind all of their old customs, religions, and ways of living in order to start over. An American means being your own individual. I agree, because the people who left their countries didn’t have anyone to look up to, to set the regulations. They could move up in society, or go back down. It fuels the passion to be better and work hard. In addition, the second passage states that there are no separate races, and that you don’t need to follow all of your old customs.

Passage 3, which was written around 1915 by Teddy Roosevelt, states that any person living in America is an American. Whether Indian, Asian, Russian, etc., you should always regard yourself as an American. Any hyphenated American is a bad American. However, I believe that the hyphenated names just show how, although we are different in origin, we all share the American dream. It may fuel an understanding for others. We are all liked by the word American, and no race-related proper noun before that would make enough of a difference in how we regard each other.

Dr. John Gartner wrote Passage 4 in 2005. He believes that the Americans who left their own home countries demonstrated a psychological test. On a broad overall basis, Americans left their home countries because they wanted adventure, and took risks. I agree, because to have the courage to leave home and go on a voyage to an unknown land wouldn’t sound very appealing. They had to have had taken huge risks, and must have had similar personalities to fuel the need to continue their journey.

Lastly, in Passage 5, it is similar to Passage 4. Written in 2005 by Peter Whybrow, he sees similar demonstrations of courageous traits in Americans. He found that inhabitants in the U.S. are more likely to have a D47 gene. Our ancestors must have shared the same trait, which has been passed down for generations. They all were risk-takers, the courageous. It is because of them that we, America, are what we are now.
The word “American” means several things. We may share the same DNA. It also brings us under one title, so that we all have a similarity, no matter what race or physical appearance may tell other people

Being an American

From Toast:

What is an American? That is a question that doesn’t exactly have a right or wrong answer. The answer is more of an opinion, therefore there are many answers.

In the 1830s, a French immigrant, Crevecoeur, tried to answer that question. He described Americans as being many races, mixed into one new race. Crevecoeur also said that Americans are not attached to European customs and that they should love America more than their ancestors’ country.

In 1915, Teddy Roosevelt gave his own description of an American. He said that a true American is born in America or they aren’t truly Americans. To him there is no such thing as a hyphenated American like a Chinese-American or an African-American. To him there is only one category for an American; American.

In 2005, Dr. John Gartner said that Americans want adventures and success. Most immigrants who come to the United States, come because they want a better life and to take a risk at getting something better. They want to fulfill their dreams and to have something more for their lives and their children too.

Also in 2005, Peter Whybrow said that in most American immigrants, and decedents from American immigrants, you can find the D-47 allele. The d-47 allele affects you physiologically and makes someone more of a risk taker. Most Americans who have or had this gene take the risk to come here to America.

To me an American is one that has pride in their country and wants to live here in America. I disagree with Crevecoeur when he says an American must love America more than their ancestors’ country. I think you could love both countries the same but think America is a better place to live and have a family. An American should be able to keep some of their original customs. I also disagree with Roosevelt. I think someone can be categorized as Chinese-American or African-American and still be American.

I agree that in America; many races, mixed into one new race and that Americans are adventurous and want success. This mix makes Americas different and is why most people love America so much and want to be Americans. I also think that taking risks and being ambitious is a part of being American. That is why I think that most people found with the D-47 gene are Americans.

Americans have some special qualities, and this is what I think makes them an American

American DNA? Why not?

The authors of the first four excerpts attempt to take it upon
themselves to define what it means to be American. Among the parts
of being an American according to them are loyalty, bravery,
determination, and allegiance. The first author defines an American
as one who leaves his/her old life and ways for a new life in
America. Crevecoeur praises the ability of Americans to make their
labor pay off easily, but notes their self-interested nature. Teddy
Roosevelt stresses Americans to be of their own separate race and
nationality, criticizing "hyphenated Americans" who call themselves
Asian-American, African-American, etc. His interest here lies in
uniting the people in his country while at the same time reminding
them of their new homeland and trying to persuade them into
forgetting their old cultures and customs.

Dr. John Gartner
describes Americans as "hypomaniac," mentioning their bravery and
willingness to risk just about everything for new opportunities in a
land completely unknown to them and thus going along with the first
author’s argument.

Roosevelt, despite the great president he was, takes his argument
here a bit too far and onto an almost nationalist perspective,
encouraging the people to forget their old countries and move onto
the growing culture in America. Gartner, along with the first
author, marvels at the bravery of an American to do just that: leave
behind his or her own ways in order to find opportunity within a new,
unknown world. Crevecoeur, on the other hand, tends to hide a
negative opinion behind some positive points. He points out that
opportunities of success in America are so much better than in other
parts of the world, where being successful is often never dreamed
of. Crevecoeur does remind the reader of Americans’ self-interested
nature and ultimately, their selfishness.

The fifth excerpt brings Gartner’s wonders of the hypomaniac,
American mind into action, suggesting there be an "American gene."
As stated by Peter Whybrow, the author of this passage, a study shows
that a certain gene has been found in Americans more than people of
any other country. Whybrow, going along with the scientists’
theories, predicts that it is this gene that provides Americans the
brave, risk-taking spirit mentioned by Gartner. He argues that the
only reason that people would be brave (and possibly crazy) enough to
leave everything behind in their homeland to come to a new, unknown
land would be because of a shared gene, and his opinion is backed up
by a scientific study.

This brought an indignant student close to tears in our class,
showing the apparent absurdity of this argument. But plug in the
scientifically-proven statistics and evidence, the well-reasoned
opinion of Whybrow, and historical fact, and we have the astounding
possibility of an actual American gene. While further research may
be needed to convince the rest of us that this isn’t just some stupid
joke to make us think about ourselves, isn’t it perfectly possible
that all the people who risked their lives to simply immigrate here
in the early 1900s, and then keep fighting on to find a place in the
confusing society of the young nation had something driving them? A
farmer who leaves behind his family, friends, and tradition to come
to America and try to find success with a plant that has less than a
50% chance of even growing has something in common with a businessman
who leaves the simple economy and environment of his country to
compete against thousands of more businessmen in America, where he
has a small sliver of a chance to make some good money. Contrast the
farmer to the farmer next door who would prefer to continue his
simple life in his own country rather than risk entering the busy,
hectic world of America.

And it doesn’t have to stop there; the
astronauts, explorers, and oceanographers of today are still looking
for a new place of their own, navigating their way through the last
known frontiers. All these people willing to risk everything for
something better could just as easily have a common gene as they
could not have it at all. Instead of asking ourselves "No way… he
can’t be serious," we can be asking ourselves "Well, why not?"

American DNA? Yeah, right.

From slater:

An American. A nationality known around the world, occupying a relatively large chunk of North America.
Not that that’s ever a good-enough definition. Oh, no. Because the problem, most people have different definitions, person to person, state to state, generation to generation.
But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with them.
Take Crevecoeur, for example. As a Frenchmen, he came to America, studied the qualities of the people who lived here (back in the 1830s), and came to a simple conclusion: An American is an American. Simple as that. He is like no other race, nor the descendant of one. He leaves behind all that he had to start over, by American means. All of these people then “melt” together to form a new, completely original nation. It is to be more respected than his ancestor’s and can only depend on himself to prosper.
Personally, I think it’s a bunch of baloney. I mean, really. It is unheard of that the minute an immigrant arrives into America, they drop all that they knew, loved, and respected to take on American customs. And it is because this does not happen, that cultures do not “melt” into each other and become one big soup. Rather, they look for people of their own kind, hence living still by nationality, making the Italian Brooklyn, and the Russian Brooklyn, and so on.
People do not “melt”, rather they “mix”. But by no means do they forget all that they knew to take on something new.
It is in that sense that our dear Teddy Roosevelt is also wrong. In 1915, he made it clear when he said that there are no such thing as a “hyphenated American”, meaning you cannot be African-American, or Irish-American. You must be simply American or nothing at all. After all, who need diversity when you can simply have this nation based on…well…diversity? Because, like he said, these kinds of people are definitely going to bring our country down.
Now, I understand that he was our president. But this isn’t simply patriotism anymore. It’s bordering on the edge of ├╝ber-nationalism, and in a slightly frightening way. Why must people be strictly Americans? Why can they not be both, their ancestor’s culture and America’s? A boy is not made to chose between basketball and baseball when asked what sport he plays, so why the same way with culture?
A little less than a century later in 2005, Dr. John Gartner stated his opinion on the matter—that an American is a risk-taker for leaving his native land to start over in uncertainty of succeeding or failing. Americans all share that one trait—that there was something they found in America appealing enough to leave all they had to begin a new life here. I agree with this guy a little. True, it takes a lot of courage to pack up and leave to not know what will happen, but that doesn’t simply apply to Americans then, but rather any immigrant.
Unless, of course, the situation in their native country is so bad that they have no other choice than to pack up and leave. In which case, they’re not necessarily taking a risk—it may be safer to leave than to stay. Nor does this apply to those who really did not have a choice of coming—children or babies.
Last, there’s Peter Whybrow, who in 2007 explained about the D4-7—or the risk-taking—gene. He pointed out that there are more people in America with this gene than in other countries. He states that people with this gene are more likely to come to America than people without it, and people who are both first-generation Americans as well as those who have been here for ages have this “American gene”. This man I disagree with on just about everything. The DNA sequence is so long that even if it is possible to pinpoint one gene commonly found in one mass of people, it cannot necessarily be applied to just one characteristic. It could mean everything, and even numerous tests and experiments cannot prove this.
More importantly, I do not see how it is possible for this one gene to predict the course of events to come. One biological factor can’t be the sole reason behind a person leaving their country and coming to America. Of course, I could be wrong, and this is simply a risk-taking gene. But then it is not responsible for people coming to America because there must be people all around the world with this gene.

I do not agree with any of these men one hundred percent. It is ridiculous because each one of them are making generalizations and grouping people simply by where they live. Not every person in America is greedy into making money. Not every person in America is a risk-taker.
So then what do I consider to be an American? Any person who believes they are an American.

And that’s up to them to decide.

Who Am I as an American?

From havesomecookies:

Up until now, I have never pondered about the definition of an American. How do I know that I am a true American? Are my parents true Americans? The truth is, I do not know. It is a topic that is not solid and block-like; it can be debated for eternity. I’ve always considered the American race to be a mixture of diverse cultures that were led over by the theory of “sidewalks made of gold” and “the land of opportunity”. But after discussing the ideas of several different professors and scientists about the making of an American, I have arrived at the conclusion that if their explanations were official, I might be residing in Canada right now.

In the first passage my class perused, written by French writer Crevecoeur, he stated that an American has a piece of courageous hidden somewhere within. An American has the fearlessness to arrive at an entirely new continent that has not even been fully settled yet and adjust to a new life, a new government, a new rank. I agree that those particular immigrants might possess that trait, but what about their descendants? I’m certain that a fraction of American is compiled of children of immigrants. We do not gain every single personality trait that our parents had; if we did, that would be frightening.

Passage #2 states that an American is also part of a new race that is composed of many dissimilar races. Americans must love this new country even more than their old country from which they departed. Pride and patriotism are the main formations for a nation that will greatly impact the world. This country gives immigrants the chance to start over, to move up a space or two in the social pyramid.

Written by Teddy Roosevelt in 1915, Passage #3 orders all American’s to address themselves as one and only one term: An American. None of that “Chinese-American” or “African-American.” Why do we necessitate those terms? The minute you march over the border, it’s crossed out with an overriding, black X. You are now part of a concrete nation. But Teddy forgets that the America is supposed to be made up of different cultures, working to move in the same direction: success. Enough was left behind when immigrants came over from their home countries; they should be allowed to thrive in a new nation while still celebrating a lifelong tradition.

Passage #4, written by John Gartner in 2005, is similar to Crevecoeur’s theory. And I still disagree. If I was the shyest human being on this planet, but I suddenly changed and became confident over time from numerous factors, how is that a trait? Some were even brought over without a choice. They were babies and their parents made the tough decision. The End. It’s not something they chose. It’s something they had to go along with.

The last passage, Passage #5, written by Psychiatrist Whybrow, claims that there is a special gene floating around that is included in only American DNA. I find this very hard to deem veritable. There has to be some other person in the world that did not immigrate to America that has this gene. Out of 6.7 billion people on this Earth, there has to be.

Onward to Canada!