makethislast

the “average” American

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on October 9, 2011

What is the “Average” American?

This questions – or rather reference to an idea – comes up a lot in Peace Corps.

My idea of the average American, especially when I think back to my childhood and upbringing, is of a hardworking first-generation American working class family. I think of delicious ethnic flavors wafting out of the kitchens and into the neighborhood. I think of non-English native languages being spoken at home. I think of “ethnic” markets and neighborhoods inhabited by “minority” populations.

I realize that my idea of the “Average” American springs from the environment I grew up in. I know that everyone has his/her own idea of the average American.

Recent immigrants and first-generation Americans…their lives exist at the point in which so many things intersects – culture, religion, food, language, dress, etc. It’s scary, it’s foreign, it’s overwhelming yet completely exciting.

In trying to make sense of what being and becoming an American is, my average American pushes the boundaries of understanding.

What I appreciate about mine is that it continues to challenge me to think beyond my perspective, my interpretation of a situation. There’s not only one right answer or one right interpretation – there are many variables that come into play.

Diversity encompassed – that’s what my average American embodies.

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