This I Believe

Nellie - Midway, Utah
Entered on December 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Nellie K

This I Believe

A people without culture is not a people at all. The reason I say this is because we may not realize it, but in our life culture defines everything: what makes us laugh, what makes us cry, what kind of an education we plan on getting, and so much more. Without culture, what kind of a person would you be? What would you do with your time? What kind of a future could you look forward to?

Addressing my first question, “What kind of a person would you be?” you wouldn’t be a person at all. Whether you like it or not you have a culture. Your culture is what you believe, do, wear, say, and even how you act. Without a culture you could not exist. Think about it: if your culture is what you do, wear, say, and everything else, to not have a culture you would simply not exist, which answers my second question. It answers my third as well, because if you didn’t exist you could not have a future.

But I not only believe in culture, but I believe in learning about other cultures as well. I believe that to be truly educated, and to truly live we must learn about our neighbors next door, and on the other side of the world. As a whole, we (being Americans) seem to struggle with this. We like to see things our way, and we don’t like change. We want things to be about us, not them. We are used to getting what we want, when we want it. Basically what I’m saying is that we are spoiled. But hey, that’s our culture, right?

Over a school break I had the opportunity to fly to Indiana on my own to visit my sister and her family. Coming home I had a two-hour layover in Minneapolis, which I spent in the Children’s Area because I had nobody to stay with me. Here I met a girl flying to Charleston with her little brother. They were from the Philippines, and had come here to get an education. I don’t remember their names, but the girl was 16 and her brother was around ten. She told me that she didn’t expect to see her home for at least ten more years. But she was OK with that, because it was part of her culture to be happy for what she had, and she truly was! As we talked she expressed her fears about living here. She was honestly scared to death of the people here. In her mind Americans were what you see in the movies: proud, prejudiced, and mean. I did my best to console her, but the truth is that we are. Not as individuals no, but as a nation yes. We don’t want other people coming in and taking over our culture. We like it just the way it is.

But I believe that we can change. In fact, we are changing right now, and have already in the past. We went from a British colony, to a bunch of rebels, to a racist nation, to a nation stuck in a depression, to the great nation we are today.

So you know, what I think I’m really trying to say here, is that I believe in America.