The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

  • ❤ February 12th Edition Out Now! ❤
The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

When Did It Become Fashionable to Hate America? It’s Time to Abandon This Trend

When+Did+It+Become+Fashionable+to+Hate+America%3F+It%E2%80%99s+Time+to+Abandon+This+Trend
Grace F.

As the daughter of two immigrants, I grew up hearing about the countless doors the United States opened for my family. Coming to America with practically nothing, my parents excelled in school, attended college, and pursued careers they were passionate about while simultaneously preserving their Armenian culture and heritage. America gave them everything they could possibly imagine.

Fittingly, I developed early on a strong sense of pride in being an American citizen. Unfortunately, this sentiment is not one shared by the majority of youth today. Rather, especially among Generation Z, it has become fashionable to hate America, with publicly vocalizing statements like “I hate America” and “America is the worst country” having become normalized. Whether it’s being said on school campuses or on social media, sentiments like these have become increasingly widespread. A few decades ago, to say that one hates America would have been jaw-dropping. But here we are today.

I have no hesitation in expressing my love and appreciation for the country I live in, but this doesn’t mean that I haven’t received backlash both in a school environment and outside. I find it so incredibly sad that we have gotten to a point as a society where we label those who take pride in their country as bigots, racists, and sexists. What’s even more sad is that people, especially youth, seem to think that loving America is a sentiment shared only by Republicans and right-leaning individuals. But patriotism isn’t, and shouldn’t, be exclusive. 

Patriotism among today’s youth sits at a record low—a fact that should set off alarm bells. According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult, only 16% of Gen Z adults (ages 18–25) said they felt proud to live in America, the lowest rate of all generations. Millennials were second lowest, with 36% of those surveyed proud to be an American. In comparison, individuals belonging to Generation X and Baby Boomers were the most patriotic, at 54% and 73%, respectively. 

The reason for the prominence of anti-American sentiment in today’s culture is twofold: first, ignorance; and second, the flawed belief that one cannot simultaneously critique and love their nation. 

First and foremost, the popular sentiment that one should feel ashamed of their American identity comes from a place of extreme ignorance. If America is so awful, why is America’s immigrant population constantly increasing? Why would so many individuals choose to come to this country that is supposedly so terrible? Here’s why: all the issues America encounters cannot even be compared to those of other countries.

One must be in an incredibly privileged position to be able to say that America is a horrible country. Take a look at a country like North Korea, where surveillance, coercion, and fear are used to limit freedom of expression and protest. Take a look at Belarus, where the right to freedom of peaceful assembly often results in persecution. Take a look at Afghanistan, a country devastated by the Taliban, where girls and women essentially have no rights. Countries in states like these can in no way shape or form be compared to the United States. Individuals who are ashamed to be American choose to ignore the fact that millions of people wish they were lucky enough to be born in a country where freedom and liberty are guaranteed. 

Second, youth today seem to forget that you can both love and criticize your country at the same time. No country is perfect, and the United States is no exception. I won’t deny that we have our own issues—including political polarization, poverty, gun violence, and racism. It’s one thing to recognize a country’s flaws; but it’s a whole other thing to disregard the countless benefits and privileges a country provides its citizens on account of problems that practically all countries face. 

In 1955, American writer James Baldwin said, “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” Baldwin firsthand experienced racism as a Black man living in America in the 1950s. It’s important to recognize that the present day is in no way more racist (or more sexist or classist, for that matter) and more oppressive to minorities—issues often used today as reasons for hating America—than the 1900s. Yet Baldwin still felt a great admiration for the United States—so why shouldn’t America’s youth today? 

Baldwin felt love toward America because of the problems he observed and even experienced firsthand. To criticize something and to want to see it better is to love it. Rather than making active choices to enact change, most members of Gen Z bask in their hate and disdain. Criticizing America is not the problem and, in fact, is extremely important for the progression of our nation. The problem instead occurs when individuals are so full of ignorant hate that they don’t want to fight for America, that they don’t want to see it become stronger and better. 

In order to continue to progress as a nation, we must come from a place of appreciation, not hate. Issues like racism, gun violence, and climate change will never be solved if the majority of American citizens feel ashamed of living in their country. You must love a country to improve it. 

Contrary to popular belief, patriotism does not mean blind allegiance to one’s country or ignoring a nation’s problems and historic injustices. It does, however, mean never losing faith in your country and its ideals and promise, which is essential to developing a country and ensuring its prosperity. It’s time to reclaim patriotism and use our love and appreciation for our country to make the changes we want to see. 

Unlike most members of Gen Z today, I am not afraid to say that I’m extremely proud to be an American citizen. And truthfully, I would not want to live anywhere else in the world. I can recognize that this is not the case for everyone. Each individual has their own defining experiences that shape their outlook on the world. But hatred towards America should not be as normalized and celebrated as it is today. To continue improving our country and moving it forward, we need to start with the foundation that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Sophene A., Managing Editor
Sophene is a junior and in her fifth year writing for Spyglass. She serves as the Managing Editor of Spyglass this year. In her free time, she enjoys baking, playing soccer, and spending time with family.
Grace F., Staff Writer
Grace is a freshman and is in her first year of writing for Spyglass. She spends her free time making art, staring at her birds, and drinking somewhat nutritious energy drinks.

Comments (0)

All Spyglass Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *