Though the Super Bowl is notorious for its incredibly funny and entertaining commercials, rarely do the million-dollar ads stir up controversies powerful enough to make viewers engage in a dialogue about what it really means to be American.
As soon as the Coca-Cola ad featuring people of different ethnicities singing “America the Beautiful” in their first languages appeared, there could be no doubt that controversy would follow. For some reason, despite the fact that the United States is a country built on immigration, some Americans find it difficult to respect new immigrants, especially those who retain pieces of their home nation’s culture, religion, or language.
Let us take a step back to the fact that this nation was built on immigration. Technically speaking, the only people who are native, real, warm-blooded Americans are those native to this land—the Native Americans. Everybody else—EVERYBODY ELSE—is an immigrant. Even the founding fathers, the men who built this country on the idea that all men are created equal and promised various unalienable rights to the citizens of this nation, were immigrants. To ostracize new immigrants to a country that formed as a melting pot is not only ignorant but hypocritical as well.
Now to language. English may be the most prevalent language in the United States, but it is most certainly not the only one. English is not the official language of the U.S. In fact, no official language exists in the U.S. Sure, learning English should be a goal for people who decide to move to the U.S. and build a life here, but can immigrants be expected to speak fluent English the second they step into this country? No.
Why must people ostracize those who do not talk like them or have the same background as them? If Americans only associated with those from our home nation, this would be a drastically different country. Why not embrace other cultures? Why not encourage new immigrants to take on “American” traits by modeling to them what it means to be American?
Being American means embracing diversity, not ostracizing those who are different. Coca-Cola’s ad depicted a beautiful, diverse country filled with people from different backgrounds with various lifestyles. What is so despicable about that?