Maria Ekern Part IV

Maria Ekern

Miss Armstrong

English 110

March 8, 2017

American Exceptionalism

Despite America’s many accomplishments and contributions, many people draw a line at declaring America as exceptional. American exceptionalism is based on the notion that America differs in quality compared to other nations simply by its historical evolution, freedom, and democratic ideals (Kwak par.1). But by that definition, several countries would be considered exceptional. America adopted this superior ideology in in 1831, a time when many around the world believed America was an outstanding country. (Kwak par. 3). From America’s rebellion against their own mother country to becoming a hugely influential and successful country, America was truly unique and respected. However, in the 21st century, America does not carry the same prestige it did before. In the modern world,  America is perceived as arrogant, dumb, and obese, yet extremely patriotic. Many believe that America’s patriotism is not justifiable due to the fact America only leads the world in unappealing categories, such as obesity, anxiety disorders, and cocaine use, and the so-called ‘exceptional’ characteristics America possess are inaccurate. (Stuart par. 6-12).

In contrast to popular belief, America is not diverse. According to the Pew Research Center, America is average, not exceptional, when compared to the other countries in the world in association with diversity (Morin par. 6).  America’s neighbor countries, Mexico and Canada, are found to be more diverse, and Africa is the most diverse country with other 100 ethnic groups, 37 tribal groups, and 39 languages. (Morin par. 1&11). In fact, America struggles with accepting diversity. Race, religion, and sexuality are issues where America struggles. Where the main race in America is caucasian, with 80%, the main religion the country is Christianity, and the majority of people identify as a heterosexual. This creates conflict for those who do not fall into those categories and it can become very dangerous. For example, in America, 48.5% of  hate crime victims were targeted based on race, 19.2% were targeted based on sexual orientation, 18.7% is target based on religious belief, 12.1% targeted based on ethnicity/national origin, and 1.4% were targeted based on their disability (“Victims” par. 2). For a country that takes pride in their diversity, people who are not caucasian, or Christian, or straight are not exactly welcomed.

  Eighty percent of American high schoolers receive a diploma, but once forty percent actually earn it.  Meaning, less than half of high school graduates are proficient in math and reading. This startling fact is believed to be caused by America’s poor education system. Many children in America are passed to the next grade despite learning the correct curriculum and other school systems simply do not receive the correct funding to teach their students the correct curriculum (Lynch par. 10-12). Many Americans are believed to by unintelligent and statistics from multiple research teams agree. According to Pearson, the United States has a “cognitive skills and educational attainment” score of 0.39, making the U.S 14th. Based on social statistics such as teen pregnancy, unemployment rates, and voting patterns from the IPSOS America ranks second in ignorance. With an average literacy rate of 498 out of 1000, America is ranked 24th in the world (“Education-Ranking America” par.1-6).

As President Obama, once said, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”  Basically, every country believes they are the best despite facts and statistics. Americans are obviously not the number one nation, statistically wise, but they believe they are as does almost every other country. So, why do so many people believe American exceptionalism is harmful?

Work Cited

“Education-Ranking America.” Ranking America. World Press, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Kwak, Chung H. “American Exceptionalism.” New World Encyclopedia. Paragon House Publishers, 3 Nov. 2016. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

Lynch, Matthew. “10 Reasons the U.S. Education System Is Failing.” Education Week. Editorial Projects in Education, 29 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Morin, Rich. “The Most (and Least) Culturally Diverse Countries in the World.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 18 July 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Stuart, Lynn. “8 Shocking Ways America Leads the World.” Alternet. Alternet, 29 July 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

“Victims.” FBI. FBI, 05 Nov. 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. soljes17 says:

    In part 3, I found myself wanting to know more about the circumstances of the militaries involvement. For example, we barely did anything to help during the Rwandan Genocide because they had little to offer us. Why do we choose to help some countries and not others?
    In part 3, I also thought there was a little bias. For example, you say “the most important part of the constitution” and “the worst countries” but what makes them fit into those extremes?
    In part 4, I was confused at the transitions. How did you go from talking about ethnic groups to talking about schools? I’m also not sure how I feel about ending the paper with a rhetorical question. It seems unfinished. I did like the quote though. It was particularly effective since everyone knows who Obama is. Unfortunately though, he is no longer president, so his title in your paper should be “Former President”. I would also clarify that you are talking about the US president since you address several other countries in your paper.

    Overall, nice job on both parts, I would just like a little more detail.


  2. emilyungerer says:

    This was extremely interesting to read, but I think what is missing is a main point. What exactly are you trying to say? America is not exceptional, and if so what exactly is it lacking? I believe you talked about Americans being unintelligent and obese, but patriotic, so are you saying we need to focus on education and less on how great we are? I feel like there could be so much information and data to back wherever you are heading and I thought it was interesting, but I was left hanging questioning where you were going to go next.


  3. maascarla says:

    In part three, I think you should include more statistics and information on topics such as healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. In part four, I would suggest including more information about the other countries to prove that they are “better.” Overall, I think that you should include more facts and viewpoints. I also think it is important to point out how exactly countries are characterized as the “best” or the “worst.”


  4. Overall, I enjoyed reading this piece as it relates to everyone in America no matter what. I also liked the use of statistics from sources, but I think that you could use more supportive arguments. For example, instead of saying that America isn’t the best in the world in reality because of education and obesity statistics, you could got on to talk about how we treat other countries militarily. I think in our history we have treated other countries hastily by waterboarding for example and that kind of argument could be used to enhance what you are trying to provide.


  5. I do have to say, while reading part 3 over again, I was kind of lost.I felt as though it really was not a summary and kind of a bias to the other side? I also felt that the main point might have been missing? I just feel as though information was slightly left out leaving some confusion as to what is happening in this country of ours. In contrast, I believed that Part IV, I believe you did a better job at explanation. You gave more facts and statistics to explain. Your quotes were placed for the reader to rightly acknowledge them. On that same time, I feel like it is missing something. Earlier this year, I wrote a paper on its treatment of one of those diverse ethnic groups: Native Americans. Along with that, I felt as though there was discrimination of there reservations. Today, we see discrimination of African-Americans in our country. I feel like this ethical piece was really left out. Other than that, very interesting topic to conclude!


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