If you’re a student studying at an American college, your school may require that you write an American identity essay. Whether you’re an American or not, this article will guide you through everything you should know about writing an American identity essay.
What Is an American Identity Essay?
This essay is one where you write about how you identify as an American. Contrary to what you may think, the American identity is reserved only for “full-blooded Americans”. America, as it is, is a nation for all. It does not matter whether you’re a full-blooded American or an immigrant. As a matter of fact, America was built by immigrants. So, how do you write an essay on American identity?
How To Write An Essay On American Identity
- Write Down Your Ideas
When you want to write your essay, you may have different ideas. What you should do is write down each of these ideas no matter how silly they may look.
- Make Research
Because you need help, you should research as many essay samples as you can. Past essays on American identity will help you know exactly what to write and how you should write yours. Later on, this article will be giving you some free samples.
- Know When to Use an Active Voice or a Passive Voice
Essays can be as short as 500 words or as long as 4,000 words, depending on your school requirement. If your word count is 500 words, then you want to keep things short and straight to the point. To do so, you must use an active voice.
Here’s an example of an active voice:
“I write this essay to discuss my American identity.”
However, if you’re writing a longer essay, you have to use a passive voice. Using a passive voice will help you accomplish your word count faster.
Here’s an example of a passive voice:
“This essay is being written to discuss my identity as an American.”
Did you notice the difference between both the active voice and passive voice examples? While the word count for the active voice was 9 words, that of the passive voice was 12 words.
In your essay, you are going to have to make references. Where do you get your references? It’s simple! When you do your research to get essay samples to help you with yours, you will definitely find useful information that you can add to yours. Use that information and make sure you add it to your “References”. When it comes to referencing, there are many different types such as Harvard Referencing Style, MLA, APA, etc. Use the one that your school requires. However, if your school doesn’t explicitly state which one to use, make sure to use the same reference style all through.
- Give Examples
When writing an essay, it is best to include examples. These should be real-life examples as they will give a “boost” to your essay.
Here is a Sample of an Asian American Identity Essay
American Born Chinese Identity Essay
Hu Liyuan is a Chinese born in America and struggles with acceptance. In America, he is constantly picked on by others. Some people make snide remarks about his eyes, hair, height, skin, and even weight. Thus, Hu Liyuan struggles with having an American identity.
This Asian American identity essay could be further developed into showing how Hu Liyuan found acceptance. The purpose of this essay is to show how different students struggle with having an American identity. Of course, yours could come from a different angle; this is just a sample.
One more Sample of an American Identity Essay
What is the real identity of America? American Identity is expressed in different cultures and races that are found in the American soil. Although American identity is varied, the study of the identity of Americans is complex noting the varied cultures and the races. American identity is defined as the configuration of the various populations that inhabit the U.S. American identity is influenced by various factors from migration of the Native American Indians, infiltration by the whites, to slave trade of the Africans. The study is to ascertain the identity of Americans since the historical times.
The main question is what is the primary identity of America? There exist various racial divide in the United States that constitutes to American identity. Walking through the streets of the United States, you will encounter Powhatan Indians and the English natives. The indigenous population seems to be strangers in their native land of America on walking down the streets. Jamestown is believed to be the original site of multicultural America and was founded in 1607 (Schildkraut 441). Various migratory patterns and trade henceforth led to the diverse cultural and ethnic state of America. The U.S. has since been racially diverse from the beginning of the Virginia shore. The reality of the diversity is increasingly becoming ubiquitous and visible in every aspect.
Current theories and studies link one-third of the American population to Europe, especially in the state of California, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Since time immemorial, a substantive number of people have been migrating to the United States of America with the primary aim of better living, freedom and the zeal to be part of the American dream. The nation’s identity is depicted through unity, regardless of racial alienation and patriotism towards the country. America is deemed as tone of the world most populous countries. The notion that dreams can be achieved in America has provided for a significant growth in the multicultural and diversity nature of the pluralistic nation. The growing awareness amongst immigrants has brought forth demographic, political, economic and social changes that successively and continuously shape the nature of the American society. The current demographic data on the diversity of America raises questions on the identity and culture of America. For instance, in 1990, The Time published an article on American changing colors and explained that in the near future, the white American will become a minority group. Most Americans trace their origin to Asia, Europe, and the African continent. The dramatic change in American ethnic composition has altered thinking among the population on what entails being an American. The uncertainty of the white population in the future of America has elicited research and Allan Bloom has reaffirmed the preeminence of civilization from the West. Bloom is the author of The Closing of the American Mind that explains intellectual backlash in response to a cultural diversity of America. E.D. Hirsch also laments on the same issues raised by Bloom and describes America as being the tower of Babel. Hirsh longs for a cohesive culture and a cohesive Nation.
The America’s racial crisis has fueled and intensified the debate of the national identity and the signs were provoked by the killing of a Korean grocery store in Flatbush, the battle of the Jewish-black and the battle for fishing rights of Indians and white sportsmen in Wisconsin. Various clashes also sparked the debate related to the identity of Americans (Schildkraut 442). What defines the identity of real Americans? Hispanics represent 40% of Los Angeles population while 13% represent the black population. The 1990 census revealed that the Hispanic population was 45% in Central Los that was initially dominated by the blacks before the Watts rebellion. Most of the businesses that were destroyed and the lives lost were Hispanic’s and Korea-owned. The inter-ethnic clashes represented a Prolog for America. The idea of making a joint American culture was achieved by developing a greater understanding of each other. Currently, there is a growing realization that the established scholarship has tried to define American identity so narrowly (Schildkraut 449). Native American identity is an emerging topic of concern based on the actual definition of ‘Native American’ concerning those who think they belong to the Native American population and those who do not. There are a substantive number of that has been incepted in request to come up with a clear and comprehensive understanding and definition of ‘American Indians’. Some of the multifold aspects that are a basis of American Indian definition are Society, Culture, Beliefs, self-identity and the law. The English immigrants require attention for developing what is referred to as the inordinate power to define the public policy and American culture.
Various groups are also considered in creating the identity of America as a nation. The groups include Asian Americans, African Americans, the Irish, Indians, and Jews. The minority group that makes up the population is the African Americans. The members of this group were initially brought by the slave trade around 1689. The slaves became laborers and eventually several legislations and civil right movements led to their assimilation as part of the American citizens (Schildkraut 450). The Asian Americans have a fond history with America being in the federal state for over one hundred and fifty years before the European immigrants. They were initially stereotyped as heathen while the Chinese were referred to as the Chink. The invasion of the Asians in America led to further restrictions on entry in American land, and this locked out several Italians, Greeks, Poles, and Russians from gaining entry into the United States. The Asian Americans further represented the fastest growing culture. The Chicanos represented a big number among the Hispanic population. The Chicanos nowadays represent the minority group living in South West America. The cultural assimilation of the American Indians was an adaptation mechanism that was incepted by the United States government with the primary aim of transforming the culture of the Native Americans. To achieve the goal, the government came up with policies and strategies that were geared to encouraging and fostering the ‘civilizing’ process. At that time, it was believed that education played a key and fundamental role in the acculturation process of the minority ethnic groups, notably the Native American Indians. Education was used as a platform to encourage diverse cultural practices and values that were to be incepted and upheld by American citizens (Schildkraut 453).
The American identity can be depicted by a different number of events that have been spread out throughout the course of history. The country was founded on the mixing and clashing of a substantive number of cultures and lifestyles. One of the most notable historical wars in the American history was that between the American Indians and the Americans. The primary bone of contention, as asserted by Ronald Takaki, was major because of land. The American inhabitants perceived diverse ideologies on how to manifest and elicit destiny. They argued that property within the country was there’s for taking as a right. During this time, the treatment that was being accorded to the Indians was cruel, violent and very harsh. For a long time now, the American Indians have sought means and ways that they can incept so as to fit into the American identity. Unlike other minority groups in the country, American Indians have to prove their identity and alienation from time to time that in most cases causes them to adopt either of the American and Indian ideologies that are need to justify their cultural background and identity. Is it really a necessity for federal officers and other races to continuously come up with definitions and justifications of the prevailing sociopolitical aspect concerning the American Indian identity? Based on the above context, it can be clearly depicted that character is indeed one of the most debatable issues of contestation especially in an increasingly multiracial and multicultural society.
Contrary to a good number of traditional American histories, the multifold aspect of the American culture puts a lot of emphasis on the contributions of the Native Americans, most notably the American Indians (Schildkraut 455). This result is based on the assertions and historical perspectives of Ronald Takaki, in his quest to provide for an in-depth analysis of perceptions and treatment of the American Indians. From this, literary researchers and academicians encounter a historical norm that reflected multifaceted dimensions of each ethnic group within the U.S and the social working class with respect to their historical contributions to the American identity. Having knowledge of American Multicultural history is an important aspect in achieving diversity in a different aspect of the social world. The history of the interactions that have been elicited between the American government and the American Indians has been depicted by diverse and dynamic platforms as a conflicting and controversial topic. On the government side, policies and procedures of separation have been incepted that were mandated to remove the American Indians from the lands that were coveted by the expansionist white population. The state government also recognized the sovereign rights with respect to the Native Americans and their new territories. One notable issue that has been elicited since the post-war era is the fact that there was a continuous debate between those who were for the idea of assimilation as opposed to those who were proponents of tribal individual determination as a form of participation. One of the most important ways in which the Native American population sought to foster national identity was through language and a cultural denotation. Regardless of the numerous government policies and procedures that were aimed at doing away with the American Indians. The immigrants from Erin followed an Irish ethnic strategy and promoted the Irish culture so as to gain political power and skilled blue collar jobs at the expense of the Asians and Africa Americans. The religious prosecutions and the fleeing pogroms from Russia also found their way into America. The Jews and other opposed groups were driven to the “Promised Land” by what John Cuddihy explained as the middle periods into the Anglo-American world. Indians were initially present in America while the blacks were forcefully transported to America as slaves. A sign of America’s ethnic composition can be discerned across the U.S. in Ellis Island, Chinatown, Angel Island, South Boston, and Harlem. Spanish names are common in American soil like San Marino and San Antonio, as well as, Indian names like Iowa and Massachusetts. The evidence illustrates much of America’s diverse cultural landscape with varied ethnic composition (Schildkraut 460).
Finally, what is the real identity of America as a nation in relation to the ethnic and racial composition? The answer to the question can be answered in the text by the ethnic composition of America. The racial composition of America as a nation is varied and majorly comprises the whites, followed closely by the Latino-Americans, Asians, and finally African Americans. America as a nation has come a long way in achieving its identity as a multicultural and ethnic state although much is still to be done in achieving the goals of identity.
Schildkraut, Deborah J. “Boundaries of American Identity: Evolving Understandings of “Us”.” Annual Review of Political Science 17 (2014): 441-460. Print.
Writing an essay on American identity is something that should come from your heart. This way, it becomes easier for you to write.