Sociology

American Cities and Culture



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The city of Detroit has long been known for its massive automobile industry. Detroit known as "The Motor City" is home to the Big Three automobile companies namely, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. This has resulted in a large sector of the labor force being employed in the automobile industry and this has shaped the culture of the city and its neighboring areas. This is similar to Pittsburgh being known as "The Steel City" for its former steel industry and its football team has been aptly named the Pittsburgh Steelers.

An individual’s identity in the city can be subject to prejudice. This means that a worker can be discriminated according to the area where they live. The part of the city that a person lives influences that person’s life chances. This is because it depends on the type of schools that are in the area. Affluent neighborhoods usually have better education available and this leads to people that grew up there having better and more rewarding lives.

Another way that a city prevents its dwellers from moving up in life is the social connections that are established. A young person in the inner city would see a small number of their friends employed and this means that their social set of connections would be trapped in the same poverty that they are. This results in them not hearing about important study grants, placement and employment opportunities.

Individuals have many roles in life. The work role, the family role and the friend role are some of them. The family role would be to be a figure of stability and security to one’s kith and kin. Friends and family can be seen as an identity for an individual. Work sees a formal procedure in one’s interactions. A worker should be respectful of another worker’s privacy and not peep at what the other person is doing. Furthermore, our work attire differs from our social wear as well.

As urbanites, we move constantly from the working world to the social world and then the family world. Each of these worlds is important. The working world enables us to be satisfied and earn a living. The social world is a way for most people to relax and have fun while meeting their close friends and developing new relationships. In the family role, human beings need to teach their offspring to survive and also form a support system for relatives.

People’s identities have changed the culture of the cities. Different types of clothing and fashion has become commonplace in an urban area. Saris are seen as a traditional South Asian dress, but have now been adopted into western lifestyle by being worn as beachwear. In the city, there is greater freedom and this means a lack of restrictions in personal expression.

Another instance where identity has added to the diversity of culture in cities is the case of Somali immigrants to Minnesota. As a result of the political instability and vicious strife in their land of birth, a huge number of Somali asylum seekers started coming to America during the 1990’s. Minnesota rapidly developed into a preferred place to stay. This was partly due to the efficient establishments that assisted refugees to settle, like the Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities. This saw the emergence of schools only for Somalis in Minnesota.

Cubans in Miami are a good example of how a certain community of immigrants has added richly to a city. Their presence can be seen in the many attractions that Miami has to offer its visitors. There are many immigrant neighborhoods like Little Havana. Little Havana is distinguished by a tough street life, myriad of cultural goings-on, first-rate eating places and a great warmth amongst its occupants.

Cities are diverse and individuals should be willing to accept the differences of what they see around them. An urban environment can be both beneficial and detrimental to its dweller. In conclusion, a person’s urban identity has been influenced by the city he or she lives in. At the same time, the urban identity of an inhabitant has greatly contributed to the cultural diversity of the metropolis.

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