OKLAHOMA CITY, February 2, 2014 — Coca-Cola, which has long celebrated America in its ads, chose to highlight America’s cultural diversity in its Super Bowl ad this year. The ad features American faces that are young, old, brown, white, and from a variety of cultures — American Indian, Hispanic, Israeli, Arab. It features a traditional family and a gay family — a first for a Super Bowl ad. In the background are voices singing America the Beautiful in English, then in other languages, as people sing and dance and explore America in feathers, cowboy hats and hijabs.
The children are delightful, full of life and happiness, far removed from political cares. The ad makes no partisan political statement, and in a less fraught political climate, it would seem to have no political message at all. That did not stop the instant opinion mini blog — Twitter — from exploding with the fury of the haters who populate cyberspace — those who hate the idea of diversity in America and who think that the use of any language but English is an affront to the nation. It also brought out those who lump everyone they disagree with under the category “conservative.” Both are wrong.
Coca Cola has always been an international brand. Though some are outraged by the sound of people of different languages singing America the Beautiful, America is a nation of immigrants, immigrants who dress differently, look different, and who speak different languages. The variety of languages in the ad highlights this.
A 2012 Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project report showed 95% of Hispanic adults — including those born in the U.S. — said it is important that future generations of Hispanic speak Spanish. And today’s young Hispanics are more likely than their parents to say they hear messages about the importance of speaking Spanish. But among Hispanics, use of English when consuming news media, television entertainment, music or speaking it is on the rise.
Being multilingual is not uncommon around the world. The number of countries whose populations speak only one language is very small.
What makes the U.S. unique and unified is the ability of so many of us to live in a country where, for the most part, diversity of ethnicities can live at peace with another. The hatred between Croats and Serbs during the wars in Yugoslavia did not erupt in violence in Chicago. The hatreds of the Old World have never been an issue in the New World.
But in social media, the haters flourish.
Whether the commercial makes people more or less comfortable with immigration is not the point. Coca Cola was able to highlight American diversity in an artful way in the words of a beautiful song: America The Beautiful.
America the Beautiful will continue to shine from sea to sea. It is a nation where good men and women — English, German, Hindi, Tamil, Hispanic, black, white, Bosnian, Serb — can live together in brotherhood. Their diverse cultures and languages make the U.S. — a nation of immigrants — a cross section of the best the world has to offer. Coca-Cola highlighted this beautifully with their 2014 Super Bowl commercial.
— Pat Fuller (@bannerite) February 3, 2014
— Bradley Beychok (@beychok) February 3, 2014
— Allen West (@AllenWest) February 3, 2014
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