Is there a cultural divide in America in the present day?Is there a cultural divide in America in the present day?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is absolutely a cultural divide in the United States today, in my opinion.  I believe that the most important cultural divide is between (generally speaking) the coasts and the interior or perhaps the big cities and the rest of the country.  Of course, there are people in each of these places who don't fit in, but it is a useful shorthand.

The divide is between people who are more traditional culturally and those who are not.  The first group tends to be from the interior and tends to be somewhat less educated.  These are the people who make up the "red states" and can be found supporting the Tea Party.

On the opposite side is a culture that rejects many aspects of tradition -- it is a more skeptical and perhaps intellectual culture.  This is a culture that, for example, does not really believe in the outward and traditional manifestations of faith and patriotism that are common to the other culture.

(Generalization and perhaps overstatement alert here...) To the coastal elites, the traditional people seem like a bunch of ignorant rednecks.  They do not think enough and blindly follow tradition or their gut instincts.  To the traditional people, the coastal elites are not really American.  They do not think in traditional American ways about things like the flag and God.  They seem to shy away from things that seem like common sense -- they rely on sophisticated ideas instead of on traditional common sense.

Again, this is overstated and overgeneralized, but I believe that this divide exists.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with brettd--I think that there are cultural divides. While, yes, there certainly seems to be a divide between Americans in big cities and those from rural areas, I've noticed that there is a cultural divide between where I'm from (the Midwest) and where I live now (the Southeast).

I would agree that there is an economic cultural divide, but I don't think that it is so much between the impoverished and the elite rich because that leaves out the middle class which really seems to be divided now from other elements of American society--many of those in the middle class make up the Tea Party, and they are at odds with anyone--elite or poor--who wants to increase government spending.

Similarly, we still have a cultural divide that falls along racial lines/tensions. As much progress as we have made over recent decades in regards to race relations, we still tend to self-segregate according to racial or ethnic identities, and it is not uncommon for Americans to make comments about something being part of "African-American" culture or some other cultural ethnic group.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The cultural divide is not so much between the poor and the elite as it is between those who want to exploit a nation and those who wish to retrieve what has been lost, a preservation of a way of life in which people earned what they had and kept most of what they had earned and felt a loyalty to the country from which they had earned it.

In response to post#2, those middle-aged to older people who are members of the Tea Party are certainly not "less-educated."  Comparing them to the population of the rest of the country which includes multitudes of illiterate people, their education level is certainly higher.  These are people who feel disenfranchised; they are not a radical group of fomented protesters.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, indeed, there are cultural divides in America.  We shouldn't be surprised to hear that, as this is a country in which diversity is applauded.  Money (or lack of money) divides; race divides: geography divides; politics divides; gender divides; religion divides--you name it and we have diversity and disagreement.  That doesn't mean there is not a core value or set of values which also unite us, but it's clear we're divided on a whole lot of major issues. 

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think absolutely there is.  Actually, I would say there are cultural divides in this country, plural.  Think about how many ethnicities we have in this country, how diverse the regions and geography of the country is, and the divide between religious/secular, rural/urban that becomes more obvious by the day.

These cultural divides are one of the things that makes our political system so bi-polar and dysfunctional, in my opinion.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am glad to see people recognizing many types of cultural divides. Our understanding of culture is growing. I think another cultural divide is between the generations that have been raised with work ethic and today's generation many of whom are being raised with a feeling of entitlement by parents who rush to the rescue of any difficulty their children find themselves in rather than teaching their children how to solve problems.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My first thought on this is yes there is a cultural divide in the country today. I however had not thought of it in terms of a geographicl thing but a socio-economic divide. A divide between the classes based on poverty or eliteness.