Totally understand that, but I grew up where we really d not care that much. Strangely, we have moved on, some of us..I wouldn't say it's a uniquely American thing to do, as it is done (consciously or subconsciously) around the world.
Americans do make a big deal about it because of our own inherent cultural beliefs that "everyone is created equal."
It's nice to say, and it feels good when saying it.
But in practice, it doesn't always work that way. And I actually think there's a cultural shift going on in this country, where many parts are finally seeing these problems come to light. And we're finally recognizing it.