Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

America’s origin story has always been glorified throughout my life. It was a story of how Europeans wanted a chance to move to a new continent to start a new life for themselves. Then they became Pilgrims who built relationships with the native population, and together they survived the hardships of the first winter. Then Thanksgiving was born! 

American dream

The story does not end there. It took a turn for the worse after the Revolutionary War, when the descendants of the Pilgrims decided to form their own country called the United States of America: one clearly independent from the United Kingdom. This is when our newly founded nation chose to expand to the West. The western border was the Appalachian Mountains. Then it became the Mississippi River. Then it extended beyond the Louisiana Purchase. You might as well reach the Pacific Ocean, right? Why not add Alaska and Hawaii?

Our country went from “Americans” wanting independence from an oppressor, to becoming the oppressor themselves when they decided to manipulate the Native Americans to expand their American Dream empire. 

Especially in the 19th century, many immigrants were attracted to this new place for the same reason the Pilgrims were: new opportunities lying on the other side of the world and a fresh chance to start over. First, it was the Irish in the 1840s after the Potato Famine. Many Germans also immigrated. At the end of the 19th century, immigrants from Southern Europe started migrating to America, notably Italy. Recently the majority of immigrants are from Mexico. Today there are roughly 43.5 million immigrants that make up the American population, roughly 13.5% of the country. 

a land of the free and the home of the brave?

Everyone says America is a melting pot which embraces people from all cultures and races, but we all know America had its fair share of racism towards individuals who were not a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) for decades. The United States may be the land of the free for some but definitely not for all. 

It seems like in the US there are different waves of sentiment towards other races. First, there was the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement for African-American equality. Then there was anti-Latino sentiment with Trump and building a wall. Then there was anti-Asian sentiment with the false accusation that Asians spread the coronavirus. The way people act during racism is purely shocking and disgusting. 

american culture

American food in my opinion could be solely American (like an apple pie), but a lot of foods that Americans eat are not invented by them but brought to them by immigrants. People think that the hamburger is an American staple. But actually, it has its roots in a similar food made in Germany. What about spaghetti? That’s Italian. And what about General Tsao chicken or chicken lo mein? Definitely Chinese. 

You may be wondering why I am writing this article. It’s because I understand cultural differences. I grew up in a household with an Egyptian mother and a “Wasian” (White + Asian) father. I am told stories from both sides about keeping traditions alive that connect to the home country. 

Therefore, I do have a place in my heart for immigrants who come to America to start a new life. We all know no one leaves home for a reason. In the case of my mom, she came to the US for a doctoral degree. Meanwhile, my paternal grandfather immigrated from China so he could achieve some higher education. America was literally his dream place to go. 

Every time I see Chinese food being served in Panda Express, I know it will never live up to the Jiaozi (what you call potstickers) my grandpa taught us to make on Lunar New Year. Every time I see people glorify the Statue of Liberty as America’s iconic landmark, I remember how proud I am that an Egyptian woman was the model for it.  

Lots of Chinese people eat this dish on the Lunar New Year

Whenever I hear someone say: “go back to x,” I cannot help but think that none of us are truly native to the land where the United States is today, unless you can claim roots to Native American tribes. The majority of Americans have European ancestry. 

changing perspective

Everyone was taught Christopher Columbus was the first man to explore the Americas, but we all know that is definitely not true. Not only were people living on this continent before his “discovery”, but it was said that Leif Erikson was the first European to explore North America in the 10th century. Yet the Native Americans were the first to claim ownership of this land. They were the first to cross the Bering Land crossing out of Asia to settle across the Pacific coast and move inward. Yet when I was in school, it was always Christopher Columbus who was the hero. I am beyond relieved that what was once called Columbus Day is now Indigenous People’s Day. We all know that man was definitely not a hero. 

Land Acknowledgement is another thing. I know my generation and those near to mine are not responsible for stealing the land that the Native Americans could not get back. But coming from someone who is not Native American, I do see and hear you. I understand your pain. Justice will be served someday. I understand because I know what colonialism is like from the British taking advantage of the Egyptians. Or the Japanese who invaded my grandfather’s hometown in the 1930s and forced everyone to ditch Chinese culture. I know what this feels like. But we are becoming more aware and tolerant. 

I am proud of how open-minded we have become. We don’t forget the mistreatment in the past, but we are still working on it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I view America as one big group project. If you take one cultural influence out, America would not be the same as it is today. 

Jazzy Tung

CU Boulder '27

Jazzy Tung is a writer for Her Campus at University of Colorado Boulder (HCCU), and is a part of its social media team. This is her first year being a Her Campus member. She is so excited to be joining the HC team! Jazzy has always loved being involved with school media: in middle and high school, she was on the yearbook team. In her junior year of high school, she attended the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. (American University) for communication studies. That only fueled her love for journalism even more! She was also the president of her high school's Creative Writing Club. Currently, she is currently a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder, who is majoring in journalism and planning to minor in international relations. She can't wait for the new adventures that college takes her through. Outside of school, Jazzy has a variety of interests. For example, she enjoys playing board and card games like UNO, spending time with friends and family, and surfing the internet for any interesting topic. Jazzy also has a large collection of notebooks in her room, most of which are from previous school years, that she saves in case she wants to write anything and everything later on. One of Jazzy's favorite hobbies, though, is stationery! She loves collecting pens, highlighters, sticky notes, and stickers.