Prompt of the Week
Share your American experience. All submissions and media forms welcome. We’ll publish your response here!
What could America become?
Responses will be published here as they are received.
The 2020 General Election was on Tuesday. A winner has not yet been decided. How are you doing?
“The past couple of days have been a whirlwind. As someone who deals with depression and anxiety, it's been difficult to cope with myriad aspects of this election. Certainly, the seesaw and delayed nature is anxiety-inducing, but what really has been front of mind for me is the unbelievable closeness of this election. The fact that almost half of the country supports a president who has done nothing but fuel racism, lies, and attacks against science and the media that are costing lives. But I think the saddest part is - I'm really not that surprised. We have a very divided country and lots of unresolved tension that was never properly dealt with. People with hate in their hearts have been emboldened by seeing their leader essentially say, "All that hate you have for the other - that's ok". I just hope that we can begin to heal and start to see each other as fellow citizens again. But it's going to take a lot of work. A lot of self-reflection. I'm not entirely pessimistic, but I'm also not kidding myself into thinking that the months after this election are going to be free of conflict. It's certainly scary. I just hope that we can move on with as much grace as we can muster.”
What is the American dream?
Symphony No. 4, mvt. 2 by Florence Price
Dedicated to all victims of racial violence.
“On one hand, Florence Price and her incredible accomplishments were the fulfillment of what must have been her ancestors; wildest dreams. On the other hand, the "American Dream"; (safety, security, equality, happiness, the opportunity for upward mobility, the opportunity to be rewarded for one's talent and grit) has obviously never been fully attainable by all demographics; and although Florence Price was not included in the demographic for whom the American promise was originally intended, this did not stop her from trying to achieve it during her lifetime. The fact that her music is experiencing a renaissance today and is starting to attain the recognition it has always deserved speaks to the fact that we are, indeed, closer to making the American dream available to all.”
“I truly don't know if the American Dream can be specifically THE American Dream. Rather, I think we have American Dreams. However, how can my American dream be the same American Dream as someone who grew up in an affluent, white neighborhood, or the same as someone who grew up in a predominantly black, impoverished neighborhood, or the same as a rural farmer who lives in near isolation, or the same as someone who is seeking refuge in the United States? Can our American Dreams coexist? What happens when someone's American Dream is the polar opposite of someone else's? Is our dream, then, to have the same dream?”
What does America sound like?
Lyric for Strings by George Walker
Dedicated to the memory of Elijah McClain
What does it mean to be American?
"American identity is so fundamentally abstract that defining it can only
come about after settling on a distinct and specific lens with which to do our perceiving. If we zoom out too far, we quickly lose track of any qualitative or quantitative aspects by which to conceptualize our American-ness..."
— Chris Carbin