The Coca-Cola controversy: Why I support the Superbowl ad

I don’t even drink soda, but I’m going to open my mouth for this one.

Yet another commercial has ignited a firestorm of debate on the Internet. First it was the Cheerios commercial that featured an interracial couple and their biracial daughter. Racist trolls condemned it for the simple fact the husband was black and the mother was white. I remember seeing the hateful comments in regards to the commercial and wondering if it was indeed the year 2013.

The newest debate is in regards to a Coca-Cola ad that was shown during Sunday’s Superbowl between the Seahawks and the Broncos. Take a look below if you haven’t seen it:

The ad features folks of all different ethnic backgrounds while “America the Beautiful” plays, with verses in English and a variety of other languages. I think the ad is wonderful, but plenty of individuals on the Internet did not share the same thought.

“Speak English or go home” and “I don’t like the ad because I couldn’t understand it” are just a couple examples of some of the responses. Some people even went as far as to boycott Coca-Cola products. All because of this commercial.

And I am left in complete shock and disappointment in people yet again.

Let me start off by saying I am completely supportive and appreciative of America. I was born here, raised here, and it’s a great place to live. But as some people seem to be failing to understand, acceptance and open-mindedness of other cultures and countries customs does not negate the appreciation of one’s country! Traveling abroad has been one of the best experiences in my life. I can’t wait until I can travel more, meet different people, and observe new traditions and have new experiences. So, does that make me dislike America? No!

Look around you. Think of where you work. Think of the T.V. shows you watch. Think of who sits next to you on the bus, on the train, who is behind you in the grocery store line. There are so many different types of people in this country–and all have their own unique background and story. Think about your grandfather’s grandfather. He may very well not have spoken English. But if it weren’t for his bravery in coming to an entirely new land different from his own, you wouldn’t be here. Where’s the appreciation for that?

One of my pet peeves is when someone says “If you’re in America, you should speak English.”

Why? Why SHOULD someone speak English?

I am not arguing that English is not a valuable skill. It’s the second most widely-spoken language to Mandarin Chinese in the world. It seems like every country is trying to learn English. Definitely learn English so that you can further your success in America if this is where you have chosen to live. But guess what? No one should be forced to speak English if they don’t want to. A person should be able to communicate with someone in whatever language they are most comfortable with.

When I was in China, I hate to say that I relied on the fact that many of the Chinese were somewhat skilled in English. I took appreciation of the fact that no one ever looked down on me because I used the wrong tones and what I had just tried to say made no sense. Some people that study abroad or travel to other countries don’t even make an effort to learn the native language. They simply rely on the fact that a large number of people are skilled in English. Yet when someone is struggling in the USA, too many people want to point the finger and persecute him or her for not speaking the language perfectly.

I wonder what reaction I would have had if, while studying abroad in Beijing, I had been talking to my parents on the phone on the bus and someone was angry because I was not speaking Chinese. Well, I would probably be very confused. So why do so many people look down on people of other cultures who converse in a different language among themselves? Our first amendment rights allow us the Freedom of Speech–so are we really going to put a stipulation on the TYPE of speech?

Back to the ad. It all comes down to compassion. To me, this ad beautifully demonstrates the diversity of this country. It seems to me that the creators of the ad are pointing out the very ridiculousness that manifests itself in every day life and that manifested itself after the ad aired, and that is the fact that people somehow have the idea that appreciation for another person’s background albeit different, does not cancel out American Pride. I would like to see a little more compassion and understanding among some of my fellow Americans. Understand that Mexico is not the only country in this world in which people speak Spanish. Before you roll your eyes at the women in the grocery store that are speaking Hindi to each other, dismissing them at disrespectful because after all they are in AMERICA, think about being in India for a second. Think about how intimidating that would be. Would you make an effort to learn Hindi? Probably. But you would also hope for the right to talk to your friend or family member in English. Nevermind the fact that it is there right to converse in whatever language they please.

I support this Coca Cola ad. America IS beautiful, but much of the close-mindedness and intolerance that can be found within its’ borders is not. I hope people will open their eyes and make an effort to see the true message of the ad, as I feel many have completely missed it.

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15 comments

  1. You know, I don’t think this while “Coca-Cola Controversy” thing has been blown up and exaggerated into something it’s not, as the media is wont to do.
    A vocal minority of ignorant people on Twitter and probably Facebook came out against it, but they’re just loud. The vast majority of people see it as a nice, heart-warming commercial.
    I think all it really shows is that some people are still ignorant and pretty stupid (the two seem to coincide), but the ratio is waning.

  2. While I believe there are a plethora of racist idiots in this world, I’m starting to think that companies put out these “controversial” ads then deliberately search for individuals who make such nasty, disgusting comments in order to spark a nation-wide debate, bringing attention to–not just the issue of ignorant, uneducated people–but to THEIR AD and THEIR BRAND. The truth is, people still think like this even in 2014. Young and old. It’s sad and horrible. The school systems are failing us miserably…anyone who took any type of history course should know the true meaning of “American”–a definition with both a positive and negative history (think of the natives whose land was ripped from them so we can all live here and call it OURS). Still, a small, dimwitted minority on a social media platform doesn’t represent the whole or the majority. Coca-Cola knew this would happen. They knew people would talk and proceed to view their ad and go out in FULL SUPPORT of their brand and BUY! BUY! BUY! Is it working? For some, heck yeah! For me? Not so much. I do wish these evil sick people didn’t exist, but they are falling for every move marketers are throwing at them. They should all be banned from life–ok, ok, banned from social media (perhaps speaking in general?) but looking at the big picture, I do not think for one minute that the Coca-Cola company DIDN’T expect this and didn’t already have these storylines written up. Or I could be wrong and we’re all doomed because we have a generation of bird brains getting ready to take over. Who knows?

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