Social Issues / The Values Americans Live By

The Values Americans Live By

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Autor:  anton  22 September 2010
Tags:  Values,  Americans
Words: 653   |   Pages: 3
Views: 652

The Values Americans Live By by Robert Kohls

In the article The Values Americans Live By by Robert Kohls, he states in the very first paragraph, “Most Americans would have a difficult time telling you, specifically, what the values are which Americans live by.” This statement is dead on when comparing America to almost any other country. In America there are so many different cultures because families from other countries are coming here in search of a better life. There is a very large diversity of cultures among Americans today. This makes it virtually impossible to have a definitive culture known as American culture. Most families come here to live but essentially still follow many of their cultures from their homeland although even these cultures can become somewhat Americanized. However Kohls does claim there are thirteen values in which most Americans live by.

The first value that caught my interest was the value of change and how change is only seen as good in America. In America we are always craving a change for a better life. Nobody wants to work at McDonald’s their whole life just for the stability of a job. We want jobs that make more money so we can buy better cars and better houses. Americans always are seeking something new they always want to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the hill. This is why tradition and heritage are not a value of many Americans because most people can not stick to the same game plan day in and day out.

Value number five, Individualism and privacy is a value Kohls makes excellent points on and angers me because his points are dead on. On page three he states, “Americans resist being thought of as representatives of a homogenous group, whatever the group.” This angers me mostly because of the truth of its meaning. While many people claim they are different from everyone else in reality they are just like everyone they are hanging out with and the people they are drawn to. First, a person can tell what type of group another person is in just by looking at the clothes they wear or the music they listen to. Their viewpoints are often very similar because they are exposing themselves to the same exact thing all the time. Yet most people are always claiming they are different, believing their ideas are better when their ideas are the same. I work in an area where every kid wears the same clothes, has the same haircut, and same interests but claims they are different from everyone else. Kohls hits it dead on when he says “Americans credit themselves with more individualism then they really have.”

As an American I disagree with Kohls value of Informality. He makes it seem as everything we do in America is informal. I don’t ever remember even thinking about blue jeans to even the slightest semi-formal event. I think a lot of people feel out of place if they do not wear proper attire to certain events. Many restaurants have dress codes nowadays. I have even been to a driving range where you had to wear at least a collared shirt just to drive golf balls, it was not even a golf course just a driving range. Kohls claims on page five that many people do not even get dressed up for symphonies, but yet it seems like more and more places are using dress codes to require all guests and customers to be attired appropriately.

Overall I believe Kohls made a lot of great points when discussing the values of Americans. Many of the values I was able to understand and have experienced them living in America all my life. However I was confused why much of his research was based upon what foreigners said about our values rather then Kohls himself gathering the information himself.

Bibliography: Kohls, Robert.

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