United States: the view from an outsider.

@marguicha (101999)
Chile
December 16, 2012 8:42am CST
I have answered a couple of the several posts after the gun shooting with children killed two days ago. And my answer in one of the posts turned into an interesting conversation (heated sometimes) that led me to want to write down how I have seen the United States in my several visits. Many people inside and outside seem to think that the US is black and white, republican and democrat, Christian and atheists (which should be looked upon with precaution). I have traveled a lot and have seen a complex world, a country so big that it`s almost a continent, with all sorts of races, cultures and beliefs. I don`t understand why some US citizens are not aware of this diversity and proud of it. I don`t understand why they don`t understand that their roots as a country were not only about the pilgrims who came in the Mayflower, but that part of their history belongs to the native americans (so many of them killed and abused) and of the slaves that helped make the country a powerful one. Blacks and chinese and the several immigrations of hungry people from Europe are as part of their History as the pilgrims. I have read about the freedom to have guns and I wonder... Is it the same freedom that over two centuries made white men shoot human targets from a train? Is that the freedom to make raid to persecute slaves running away to freedom? That`s part of the US History as I see it and it should be accepted as well as other nicer things are. I think that we must all, everywhere in the world, try to overcome our flaws and change our laws if they have grown obsolete. The US has done that in the past. I have seen in my life span the changes that an incredible man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made without guns. Yet it was a gun that killed him. I have great friends in the US. I have some online friends now and, believe me, I don`t know and I don`t care, if the are black, white or checkered. THey are human beings who deserve respect and I learn from them. I would not want to meet them and have them look at me with prejudice because my eyes are brown instead of blue. I promise I will accept their blue eyes although I prefer bronze gods Enough for now. Peace
7 people like this
10 responses
@chrystalia (1209)
• Tucson, Arizona
17 Dec 12
Even the "native Americans" came here from somewhere else--over the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska, probably 15,000 years ago. What was done to the natives was atrocious, as is what is being done to them now. I have relatives on a reservation--they are a broken group of people. I also had relatives that arrived on the Mayflower, as a matter of fact, and some that emigrated from France and French Canada. While diversity is a great thing, our current embrace of cultural differences is only driving people apart, in many ways--people are no longer just "American". Immigrants no longer have to have a sponsor, no longer need to be able to read, write and speak English, no longer have to have a means of support--so they are essentially still "outsiders" in a way that doesn't work well for the nation as a whole--it's no longer "I am an American whose ancestors were Mexican" for instance--it's now "I'm a Hispanic/Mexican American". When diversity is a part of unity, then it is easy to look beyond the difference in skin color, or religion, or whatever. But when diversity is prized more than unity, issues like skin color, religion or culture can be very divisive. A nation divided amongst itself cannot stand--I think it was Lincoln that said that--and he is right.
1 person likes this
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
17 Dec 12
I agree with you that a nation must be united in spide and because its differences. I remember when we had a dictator in our country. We protested but every political party brought their own flag. I remember with emotion when we finally had him step out. We all went to a big park with our national flag to sing our national anthem. Together at last.
1 person likes this
• Tucson, Arizona
17 Dec 12
And that is the way it should be--but here, it more and more often is not the case. Certain segments of our society actively encourage divisiveness--because it gives them power to use against others.
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
17 Dec 12
Maybe then it is the time that the people who want to be united should get together and do something.
@mariaperalta (19094)
• Mexico
16 Dec 12
very well put.. I lived 13 years in the usa and saw many people there from other countries. i also read once that 45 % of the people in the usa originally came from other countries. great post.. have a wonderful day there.
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
16 Dec 12
Except for the Native American, we ALL originally came from somewhere else. That's a lot more than 45% I do believe. You do live in Mexico, correct Mariaperalta? It is the same in your country you know. Everyone originally came from Europe except the Native population.
1 person likes this
• Mexico
16 Dec 12
Yes its the same here.. kind alike in the usa. many here in mexico city, are from other places even france, and china....
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
16 Dec 12
Nowhere else is there such a bountiful place that was rich enough to welcome our forefathers.
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
30 Dec 12
Wow, I don't think I could have said it better. I think it is important that people become aware of the diversity of the world around them and that all people are human no matter what they look like on the outside. I have always believed that color is only skin deep and that one person is not better than another based on the color of their skin. What makes a person better than another is how they act and what they do to make the world a better place for everyone in it. I felt really bad when I heard about the Connecticut shooting and I still find it hard to believe that it actually happened. It is a sad day when the media sensationalizes such incidents and then people wonder why such incidents keep happening. I think that there do need to be changes to many things in this world in order for things to improve and to prevent such things from happening again. Some people talk about not giving up their right to bear arms, but why do people need semi-automatic weapons at all? Thanks for sharing your viewpoint!
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
31 Dec 12
Thanks for your answer, Deb. I greatly respect your point of view because I know that you have been elsewhere. I feel that sometimes some of the problems the US has with other countries are because the country is so big that it is more like a continent. And it is harder to see what lies beyond their world. That is why I like to travel and that is why I like this site so much. It opens my eyes and I can see better the way other people see things. Happy New Year, dearest!
1 person likes this
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
31 Dec 12
I have always had a somewhat different point of view of the average American I think. It seems like most have no desire to see anything but what the media shows them and they think that is the end all of everything. I know that there are differences and personally I have never been blinded by that. I may not always understand everything that I believe, but I'm not limited by the media or by how "dangerous" the world is because of the media. Not quite what you were talking about, but that is what comes to mind from what you have written. Happy New Year!!!
@stealthy (8188)
• United States
16 Dec 12
I agree with just about all that has been so well said in the original post and in the replies. I am a several generation U. S. American with roots far enough back that I do not know when my ancestors originally came to the U. S. As far as I have been able to determine my heritage is German, British and perhaps an unverified and very small amount of Native American. In my lifetime I have seen the growing instances of violence such as that recently in the school in Conn. which I almost never heard of as a kid growing up. Now part of that, but a small part, may have just been because news coverage was not so immediate and widespread. But the main part in my opinion is not just the availability of violent movies, games, TV shows, etc. but a wider spread of the deterioration of the family unit and of parents doing a good job of raising their kids. It seems to me that today so many parents want to put the responsibility of raising kids off on others such as schools and the government. When I was a kid, I was expected to behave, to get good grades, to obey laws and to treat others respectfully. This was without any harsh punishments or overly strict rules. Kids learn from their parent's example and today so many in each new generation seem to setting worse and worse examples for their kids.
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
16 Dec 12
I agree with you, but then I lived as a kid in a society that did not place it`s goals so much in having material things. And family was for keeps, not something to get rid of at the first problem. Still, all human problems are complex . I see now that both parents work outside too much so, instead of raising their cghildren, they give them whatever they wish.
@stealthy (8188)
• United States
17 Dec 12
Both my parents worked but my mother did work from home when I was very young. But she later worked outside of the home once I was in my teens.
• United States
23 Dec 12
Thanks for sharing your opinion as an "outsider". I think that no one can see their own country's culture, government, and history clearly until taking on things from an outside perspective. I am an American, but I have learned so much more about America by visiting different countries and seeing how things work there. America has had several accomplishments and I am grateful to live in a country that has had so much success (making it easier for me to become successful) and also one that allows so many freedoms (especially the first amendment). Yet we need to take responsibility for our failures and seek the opinion of many in order to improve our country. The work is never done. The Constitution is a living document written by imperfect people, and there are times when we need to make changes in order to improve our society. We should respect the views of people who have not grown up in our country--though there might be a few things that they don't "understand", they might see things as they really are and help us find new solutions. This is one of the greatest strengths of a global culture--we can learn from each other's strengths and weaknesses.
• United States
23 Dec 12
One of the reasons we can't unify is because those who cause division are those who refuse to pick up a history book. The willful ignorance and dismissiveness and denial make it impossible for them to learn what happened in our past and its direct relation to current policies and current situations.
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
23 Dec 12
I feel that this incapacity for History is growing everywhere. I often told my students at the university that I felt they thought they had stepped out of a spacecraft. I had a fight with them when they assumed they were the first to think up a way to do things. I had to tell them to go to the library and then start working.
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
18 Dec 12
The fact that there are still so many people in the United States that are so very prejudice is something that really does bother me. However, I will tell you without a shadow of doubt in my mind that I am not one of those people. I judge people because of the fact that they are human beings and they have feelings that are the same as mine (I don't mean opinions, those always differ, I mean the emotions that we experience). When it was time for my children to start school, I didn't cherry pick school districts so that my children would not be exposed to racial diversity, in fact, I love the fact that there is not a racial majority at their school, it is evenly split between Hispanic, African American and Caucasian students. In doing this for my children when they were young (or while they are still very young as is Paul's case), I'm showing them that people should all be judged because they are human beings even though everyone does not look the same as we look.
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
21 Dec 12
I am so glad that you think like that, friend. I thought you would think this way though. It is consistent with other nice things you are always doing.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
18 Dec 12
The US is a big blend of culture, but how much of that you experience has more to do with the area or region where you live than anything. To a certain degree, this also depends upon your social status and income, since someone who is well educated and mid to moderately well off is not likely to live in a ghetto area. Also regardless of culture, there are nice respectful people, and there are terrible people. When you have children, you of course prefer to spend more of your time around the former, and you will often look carefully before choosing a place to live in order to make sure that is what your children see. Politically, I believe that America actually has a decently sized portion of people who want nothing to do with either side. To say or even believe that America is republican or democrat is silly, if I were to give a list of the top 10 things of importance in my country, nothing relating to politics would be anywhere in that list of 10. Americans are also of many different religions, Christian and atheist being just two groups. One thing that really doesn't make any sense to me are people who move to America and think they are better than the generations of Americans who have already been here, who want to change everything so that it mirrors the way they do things in their home country. WHY? YOU moved to THIS country, why try to make it what you left? I don't understand that at all... and to look down your nose at Americans or make fun of them? Of course we are different from you lol. I love to meet people but I take offense to people who don't even know me and think they are better or entitled to something and I'm not, etc etc. I have no idea where that attitude comes from and sadly I see it a lot. I also see way too many immigrant children whose parents don't seem to care about how their kids do in school, they don't participate in extra curricular activities or sports, etc. This goes against what I used to believe - that if someone cared enough to come here, they would try to learn English and make sure their kids had every opportunity to succeed. I don't know if it's the economy or just these times, but nothing is as it used to be.
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
20 Dec 12
I agree with you about US being a big blend of cultures as I have seen that in my several trips to your country. I suppose it is difficult for immigrants to blend in immediatly because of language and race barriers. I also have seen it with native americans. They don`t easily bleand because the mayority does not accept them. I hope the future will give everyone more positive answers. In my country, there are also issues between "white people" and our native population.
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
17 Dec 12
Well said, Marg. BTW my eyes are brown, lol.
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
17 Dec 12
Nice thing is,Jo, people can be awesome whatever their color. My husband had dark eyes, but that didn`t keep me from loving Paul Newman`s beautiful eyes
@savypat (20246)
• United States
16 Dec 12
I think that in many cases we are becoming a people that expect the government and laws to fix all that is wrong in our lives. We have forgotten that the reason many come to this country is to escape government control. When terrible things happen we go over and over what we could have done to prevent this happening. We look for social reasons or medical reasons for such actions. however I never hear much about the fact that our children for generations have been raised on violence as an acceptable solution to problem citizens not only in our country but in the world. There is so much violence in all our lives and entainment that somehow it has become unreal to us until something like these school killings happen. As long as each of us accept that these things happen and there is nothing we as individuals can do to stop it this result is bound to happen. We must each ask ourselves, can we give this up, can we live without violence? I pray that the answer is yes. Blessings, may this be part of the old world which is ending. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
@marguicha (101999)
• Chile
16 Dec 12
I know that it depends on us all to end violence. We cannot let the neighbor to start being peaceful. The same goes for so many things we must start doeng, such as taking care of our natural resourses instead of using more than our share.