The Harbinger Online

Commercial Controversy

Everyone carries their family heritage with them. Whether it is German or Irish genes, it’s something you should be proud of. And with 40 million immigrants living in the United States, everyone has a diverse background with different ways to dress or celebrate holidays. Diversity is celebrated and sought after. As a country founded by immigrants, it’s something that we should be proud of. However, when Coca-Cola ran an ad during the Super Bowl with the song “America the Beautiful” sung in seven different languages, there was backlash about the diversity aspect of the commercial rather than a celebration of it. The Harbinger believes this ad merits no backlash and it’s ridiculous that it has become a controversy. The United States is the place to accept all races, beliefs and immigrants.

The ad Coca-Cola ran started off as any other American pride commercial. It showed shots of mountains and a man on his horse with the song “America the Beautiful” sung in the background. But seven seconds in, the song suddenly switched to being sung in Spanish, followed by Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, Senegalese-French and finally Arabic. After the 60 second ad was played, many U.S. citizens took to social media outlets to display their outcry. Soon the hashtag #SpeakAmerican, was trending worldwide.

Many people claimed that singing the song in different languages was unpatriotic. Others said that the unity Coca-Cola was portraying actually shows division in the U.S. because of the many ethnic groups doing their own thing. However, most people chose to focus on the inadvertent topic brought up in the commercial of guidelines of which languages are spoken in the United States.

Many news articles brought up what President Teddy Roosevelt said while he was president: immigrants should be deported from the United States if they haven’t learned English after five years. First of all, an immigrant cannot become an American citizen without knowing English. It is literally a necessity to learn English before becoming an American citizen. And while we are on the topic of speaking English, can you really #SpeakAmerican? You speak English.

The message of the commercial was lost amongst the tweets and Facebook statuses. The intended message, according to the girls’ who sung the different parts of the song, was that it’s okay to be different and it’s okay to be yourself. Everyone has a rich background and everyone should be proud of where they come from. If your family was suddenly uprooted and moved to Russia, would you stop eating apple pies, twinkies or gumbo just because you are in a different country? We take our heritage with us no matter where we go. Becoming an American doesn’t take away your heritage, it just adds another part to your heritage.

It is obvious that the people singing are proud to be Americans. And they are expressing their love for their country in their language. However, pride of being an American can be shown in many different ways, whether it’s with a flag in your yard or singing a patriotic song in your native language. Whether it’s in French, Swahili or Mandarin Chinese, the message remains the same: we are proud to be Americans.

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