Coca-Cola: What Language is American?

devon fore_webI watch the Super Bowl for two specific reasons: to see the commercials and watch the half-time show.

This year overall, I was unimpressed by the commercials until it came to the Coca-Cola one.

The commercial played scenes of American life while “America the Beautiful” played in the background. The inspiring thing about this commercial was that “American” was a diverse term.

The commercial featured African American families, white families, families with LGBTQ parents, and Muslim families, etc. They covered the diverse spectrum in race, religion, and culture — something that America as a country is supposed to embody.

“America the Beautiful” was even sung in multiple languages ranging from English to Spanish to Arabic.

The commercial demonstrated what I hope America will one day come to be. The whole thing was beautiful. The ugly part was the reaction of some of the American people who had to post about it on Facebook or Twitter.

Now I want to add a disclamer right here. I know it seems ironic that Coke is portraying this commercial of acceptance, equality, and tolerance, especially with its human rights record, but let us keep in mind that most people do not even know about Coke’s sketchy past.

This commerical might be them turning over a new leaf. Or it could be a marketing strategy but, either way, people’s reactions to the diversity were just wrong.

Mere minutes after the commercial first appeared, the internet erupted with people complaining about everything from “terrorists” being on their television ruining the song “America the Beautiful” – obviously referring to the woman wearing a hijab — to the song being sung in multiple languages.

Reading through some of the twitter and facebook responses, I was downright sickened. I will list a couple for your reading pleasure.

KYBlackoutTFM laid this gem on the Twitter universe, “Coke having a commercial with an American song in other languages… not cool. Coke. GTFO with that.”

Then there was this Facebook status from John Daver, “Yup this is what America will look like in 50 years, white people will be gone off the face of the planet… But that’s what you guys want.”

There were a plethora of people believing that America the Beautiful should not be sung in any language other than our National language, English, even though America does not have a national language.

The #SpeakAmerican also started to trend and it got me thinking, what language is American? From the reactions that I saw, the answer appears to be one of ignorance and intolerance.

America boasts that we are a melting pot country, who welcome the tired, hungry, and oppressed of other countries, and that may be true.

We are home to copious amounts of religions, cultures, and nationalities. So while we can truthfully say we are a diverse country, we cannot say that it is something every American is proud of.

Continued racism, oppression, and hostility to other nationalities back up that statement.

I saw numerous veterans on the internet commenting about how they fought to keep this country free and if that is true it should be free to everyone, not just people who fall under the dominant idea of what an American is.

Someone on Facebook wrapped up the sentiment quite nicely when they said “America the Totally Not Racist—you know until a commercial is aired in anything but English.”

-Devon Fore, Style Editor


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