Mac ‘N’ Cheese? Hot Dogs? Apple Pie? These are some of the classic “American” foods we are familiar with. Yet, what is American? How are we to claim these foods as American when we can’t even truly come up with a definition of what it means to be American? Our Founding Fathers did not even eat hot dogs, they probably were not even aware of what it was. It wasn’t even an American who invented them. Did you know that hot dogs are actually of German descent and immigrants were the ones that brought them over to America? Pies are the go-to dessert for any American holiday yet they were brought over by immigrants from Greece. The Mac ‘N’ Cheese we’ve eaten so much of as a child is actually of Italian descent. Why do we advertise these desserts as “All-American” when in reality, they belong to a culture that is not American? We’ve embedded these thoughts in our minds and labeled such foods as American without even thinking about their origin. Just as these desserts are not from America, many individuals that are labeled as white are not American but rather immigrants from other countries.
This demonstrates our attitudes towards most other cultures and people. We tend to group things together and not appreciate their individual value. It is important to acknowledge everyone’s diverse cultural backgrounds instead of categorizing people into a single group. Yet as Americans, we tend to have a nativist view in that we want immigrants to shed their culture in order to assimilate into ours. But why do we keep wanting to fit everything under the “American” category when it actually doesn’t exist?