Updated: Aug 3, 2020
As a nation, America is composed of a diverse array of ethnic subcultures (white, black, brown). The totality of these subcultures composes the cohesive American culture – or at least it should. Historically, the most fruitful subcultures have been the ones that have adapted to the American culture as a whole, espousing the shared vision outlined in the amended United States Constitution.
Throughout America’s short existence, ethnic subcultures have struggled to retain, understand, and preserve their cultural identity - lulled into identifying with the aspects of their subculture that makes them different, rather than celebrating the vision they share. Americans frequently hide behind their ethnic subculture for various reasons - some for their culture’s historical dominance, while others for their culture’s historical oppression – often losing sight that the separate subcultures make up the American culture. For most subcultures experiencing oppression, issues are exposed, the people rally, laws are passed, and problems are solved. For other subcultures experiencing oppression, the same steps are taken but oppression continues. Why?
It is common for oppressed minorities to blame the white subculture for their problems. You know, the so-called “real Americans.” Although it is convenient to cast blame on something other than themselves, it is a short-term feel-good solution to deep seeded issues. This hall-pass approach to the pursuit of happiness is patently convenient, yet inherently lazy. Long term pursuits require long-term goals rooted in a realistic framework. This framework requires humility and self-reflection as a principle tenant. Without such reflection, if it is not the white man that is blamed for their oppression, it is the government for not providing better jobs, or it is the school system for not properly educating their children, or even the cops for being racist.
Contributing to the American Culture
With self-reflection, the first step to eradicating cultural oppression may be as simple as staying out of trouble and positively contributing to the American culture. Ironically, oppressed minorities often place the onus of their happiness on the shoulders of the so-called oppressors to solve for them. The politicians, special interest groups, the protesters and other well-intended, yet uninformed, individuals answer the call by offering more public services. The minorities take the services (without self-reflection), the oppression continues, and the cycle repeats itself– thus, creating a class system disguised as social injustice. To avoid this quagmire, successful subcultures work in a collaborative, rather than an independent, effort. They view other subcultures as equal to their own and participate in the birth of the American culture.