In the 21st century, the “State of American Culture” is very diverse. According to Wikipedia, “American Culture encompasses traditions, ideals, customs, beliefs, values, arts and innovations developed both domestically and imported via colonization and immigration.” While I agree that this is a very “safe” and accurate view of American Culture, over the years, American Culture has developed new traditions that now include a plethora of technological advances. For example, the culture and traditions within the average family unit has grossly changed over the course of the century. According to a 2007 U.S. Census Bureau report, there are approximately 13.6 million single parent in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.2 million children. This transition started in 1960 and continues to increase. Technological advances have also redefined not only family, but education. It seems as if the attention span of people young and old alike is decreasing and even teachers find they must incorporate media stimulus into the classroom to keep students engaged in the learning experience.
American culture is no longer isolated to art and customs. Although these things still exist, culture is constantly reinventing itself and “adjusting” to an innovative and flexible style of living. The creative and pioneering “Generation Y” now seems to lead the way to a revised culture. The term “Generation Y” or the “Millennial Generation” first appeared in the early 1990’s and is used to describe teenagers born in 1974-1984. This generation was raised with advanced technology such as cell phones, computers, the internet and use this as their main source of communication. The demographic for this Millennial generation is 70.4 million which comprises more than 26% of the population. This brief introduction of such a statistic is to give you an idea of the important role this particular generation plays in the ongoing shift of the “State of American Culture.” The American tradition and culture that was adopted from British culture, colonization and immigration is redefined and has now become the current state of American culture.
Of course, our culture is not limited to family; however, I am suggesting that all culture begins with the family unit and the training and upbringing that one experiences within their respective family unit. American culture has become a melting pot of tradition, values and arts. Academic achievement still appears to be the value that is shared by many cultures nationwide. The freedom and flexibility allows all generations of the American culture to experiment and identify new and cutting edge technology that introduces higher level of learning and acquiring knowledge. In the 1920’s the television patent was developed, in the late 1950’s the mobile phone was developed, and subsequent technological breakthroughs were created and implemented over the years. Therefore, our American culture has a strong innovative trait that has enhanced over the years.
I’m grateful to be part of a culture that continues to develop. If our culture were limited to “tradition” and “values” of old, then we would be a society that constantly recycles itself with no room for innovative thoughts and ideas. I’m sure American culture will continue to be a trendsetter of innovation and respected by all.