Editorial: Coca-Cola embraces American beauty

Editorial Board

Last Sunday’s Super Bowl may have turned out to be less than exciting, but that doesn’t mean there was any shortage of commotion surrounding the big game. One of the contentious issues that popped up was a Coca-Cola commercial which featured the song “America the Beautiful” sung in a variety of languages.

How a song celebrating the grandeur of our nation, sung from a global perspective, can cause offense is difficult to imagine, but there are no shortage of Americans who have somehow found a way.

Twitter and other social media sites were abuzz with criticisms of the advertisement, in most cases citing how the English language and the United States are inevitably linked, despite the fact that the majority of those that speak English live somewhere in the world other than the US. While the United States is far and away the country with the most English speaking individuals and over 94% of our population knows the language, we are far from a completely homogeneous nation.

Any cries of “This is America; speak English!” or other hilariously paradoxical arguments as to why Coca-Cola acted inappropriately should be seen for what they are: foreigner-fearing (xenophobic) comments made from ignorance. That does not mean, however, that they should not be taken seriously.

By showing the world that a significant portion of our populace views even the slightest hint of multiculturalism as not only disagreeable but downright offensive, we as a nation have also shown just how backward we are.

This country, in its birth, was a melting pot for different cultures. People from all different countries of Europe settled here, followed by all other parts of the world. People who stand by and make comments to fellow Americans to “speak English in America” should remember that unless they happen to have an American-Indian heritage, they too have ancestors that are from other countries.

Since its beginning, Coca-Cola has been making a controversy in the advertising world. Coca-Cola has been in constant support of America and even though it is now known worldwide, keeping its strong roots right here in America. Coke has also been a strong supporter of women’s rights, the U.S. military, and they printed one of the first ads to feature an African-American woman back in the mid-1950’s.

Coca-Cola has been helping blaze the trail toward equal rights for years, so seeing something like their much-discussed Super Bowl commercial is nothing new. We as Americans should stand and support each other and the different cultures we can all bring to the table, rather than tear each other down for something as irrelevant as believing in a different religion, having a different skin tone or speaking a different language.

It is truly unfortunate that instead of viewing Coke’s commercial as one that celebrates the United States as a global standard for quality of life, so-called patriots have chosen to claim America as open only to themselves and others like them. Such nonsense is neither compatible with the values that make America great, nor with those that will continue to move the United States into an even more prominent global role. Coca-Cola is moving progressively to embrace all people of this world, and that is what makes America beautiful.