For many, the Superbowl is a spectacle of commercials with some football breaks thrown in between segments of the year’s best advertising. Not me, I love it all. The cold beer, the chicken wings, the clack of helmets as they clip against one another, and of course the ads. I wasn’t particularly impressed by this years ads but a couple stuck out. First of all, does John Stamos ever age? I’ve got a 20 year long crush that’s still going strong and I will watch him eat yogurt all day. The Budweiser Clydesdale commercials never fail to amaze or inspire. Add a cute puppy to the mix and I’m sold, even though I don’t like their beer. The other one that I thought was really great was the multi-lingual/ multi-ethnic Coca Cola commercial.
This commercial is actually one of twelve videos in a series called It’s Beautiful which features “American , the Beautiful” in a variety of languages including English. The Arabic version is particularly beautiful. As I sat, watching, cold beer in hand, I felt connected. Finally, a company willing to portray America as the diverse country is it even if it’s just to sell more pop. Right? Well, apparently not. It took mere seconds for the internet to light up in anger. Perhaps it is naive of me, but I was deeply saddened to hear that sentiment repeated over and over across the gamut of social media platforms today, decorated with every possible racial slur , xenophobic sentiment, and derogatory homophobic term.
I’m also angry. I’m angry we haven’t learned from our mistakes. We aren’t doomed to repeat our sordid history, we’re already repeating it. It’s days like this that remind us how far we have to go. Its the slap of reality across our collective cheek. We are not as far removed from our unsavory history as we like to pretend. Its in these moments that statistics about continued racial segregation and hate crimes are so much more than a number on a paper. Instead of using technology to make connections, we are using it to dig chasms between people which are not easily filled or crossed. We are quickly sliding down the wrong side of a treacherous hill, where everyone loses. As we tear each other down, we build a country devoid of color, perspective and innovation.
It’s not about Budweiser or Coca Cola or Beats by Dre. It’s about people. It’s about America as not only a place but an ideal. Its about the freedom to celebrate your culture, including your language, to have the opportunity to live in a country with a diverse community of people, to practice your religion without persecution, to love deeply and openly, and to be part of the glorious whole. As Americans, we span every imaginable difference and personify every variable, yet we come together under one flag and work towards a land overflowing with prosperity and potential. . We all came here from somewhere else, looking for something more. It doesn’t matter if you are struggling to be a first generation American or if you’re family was amongst the native people who walked across the Bering Strait. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, remember? Not just for Christians, not just of native English speakers, not just for white people. For everyone
Side Note: I’m still upset that the Coca Cola company is supporting the Olympics in Russia.
Image Credit: Salon
Written by Rachel Brandt