“Americans have no culture” – nonsense!
Our flag in front of our house
From time to time I hear people around me drop the above line about how we Americans do not have a culture. To be honest, it upsets me a bit because nothing could be further from the truth. We have a culture of inclusion, tolerance and collaboration. I totally get how folks conclude that we do not have a universally and internationally acknowledged single cultural attribute since we have so many cultures coexist here. This natural coexistence though is part of our cultural signature that makes us unique in the world.
I can give you one of many personal examples for this. When I first set foot into the country I knew no one. This was a work transfer from our German headquarters to now working for the United States subsidiary. The receptionist had a friend – a divorced lady who rented me one room of her town home. It happened to be November of 1989 and Thanksgiving was just around the corner. She invited me to join her and her family to enjoy the holiday together. My interest was piqued and you cannot imagine how big my eyes got when all the relatives showed up and the food trays kept on coming. Sharing this meal together with them changed me profoundly: Here I was sitting next to folks who treated me equally as if I had been one of their own. Better yet, they were asking me about my heritage and everybody was quite enthused to learn that I had come from Germany. One even commented how we had redeemed ourselves after the war. Wow! Me, the former enemy right in their middle and I am sure they had lost relatives in one or both of the big wars and they were treating me like royalty. You have to realize that this positive outlook on Germans had not been the norm when Germans traveled to certain regions of Europe. I can still recall a few occasions when some folks turned away from me once they got the drift where I was from. Up to the early 90’s there were still hard feeling left over.
Here we do make the effort to include all people and their values in one way, shape or form. I have not visited or lived in any other country where this multicultural approach gets practiced. This is our culture and surely something to be proud of. Do not get me wrong, I am proud of my German heritage and who I am I have to thank Germany, my family and my education. Who I can be though I owe to this country and that is why I applied and received my American citizenship. Think about what kind of freedom and opportunities we have here – the difference lies with you and you only.