America is one diverse society and the question of if cultural values exist is complex. American society is made up of various ethnic groups and cultures. American culture is enhanced by the values and beliefs, which have shaped the attitudes and behaviors of the majority of Americans.
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There are several values and norms that are followed in America, and there are few selected core values in the American value system namely individuality, privacy and equality.
The value of Individualism
Individualism is the act of seeking ones moral value. This is achieved by partaking ones goals, aspirations, liberty and self reliance. An individualist is egocentric and opposes interference of the community in his undertakings. It focuses on the individual possessiveness hence the lifestyles geared toward self creation.
Americans are so committed to honor individualism and its one of the basis of the American values. Children in America are encouraged to perceive themselves as responsible individuals for there own destiny but not as a member of a society. An individualist being part of a society serves his own interests without considering the interests of the society at large (Brinkerhoff , et al., 2006).
The government has a lot of influence in ensuring that each individual’s rights are protected by the United States constitution. Americans desire personal social and economic success hence this has made them self reliant and has resulted in the competitiveness of American society.
The value of Privacy
Privacy is described as the ability of a group or an individual to alienate themselves or their information. Americans believe that they need time to themselves to reflect on their issues and recover their energy. They respect each others privacy and making friends is a bit difficult since mostly they don’t go beyond a friendly greeting. In the American constitution there are by laws on privacy that protect the citizens from intrusion of their privacy.
The value of Equality
Equality for a long time in the United States has had controversies. In the early 1860’s there was racial discrimination and the blacks were not treated equally. This changed in 1868 when the African Americans were given equal protection in the 14th amendment. Their guaranteed freedom came about in the 15th and 24th amendments when they were allowed to vote and the system of poll tax abolished. Since then America has been improving in ensuring equality for its citizens (Marshall, G, 1998).
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Today Americans highly regard equality and as a God fearing nation they view it from a religious point of view. They trust that were all created equally and have equal chances to succeed in life. The United States is believed to be a land of equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their nationality, ethnic or racial origin (Brinkerhoff , et al., 2006).
However there are still forms of inequality especially at the workplace. This is evident when diversity in employment is not considered. Today in America women receive much less salaries than men in the same job positions. Some ethnic groups are also discriminated in workplaces especially Africa Americans, Hispanic Americans, Alaska natives and Red Indians.
Some organizations also discriminate the physically challenged. There have also been economic discriminations especially in regard to people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are not employed in some organizations.
Importance of the values
The three American values discussed complement one another positively.The respect for one another’s privacy makes Americans to be people of focus and major their time on development issues rather than poking noses into other people’s lives (Marshall, G,1998). Individualism that starts even in childhood teaches Americans to be self- sufficient and focus on innovative matters. Equality creates trust, harmony, peace and unity and bridges the social gaps that are created by discrimination.
The American culture is rich in its values and that has greatly advanced the American attitudes.This positive strength has enabled us to dream, be innovative and this has resulted in remarkable advances in health, science and technological advances.
Brinkerhoff, D, B, White, L.K, Ortega, S, T, Weitz , R. (2006) Essentials of sociology. seventh edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon.
Marshall, G. (1998). Affective individualism. A Dictionary of Sociology. Web.