The conservative outrage over Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful” Super Bowl ad may not have been fueled by racism … but it was fueled by white privilege. (More)

Who Are We, Part I: Coca-Cola, Diversity, and Privilege

This week Morning Feature revisits the question of who is included in “We the People.” Today we consider Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful” Super Bowl ad, and how the conservative response was fueled by white privilege. Tomorrow we’ll see how Rep. Paul Ryan’s flip-flop on “job lock” after this week’s CBO report exemplifies wealth privilege. Saturday we’ll see how the ‘religious freedom’ movement manifests Christian privilege.

“America the Beautiful”

During the Super Bowl on Sunday, Coca-Cola aired a remarkably eloquent ad:

For many viewers, the ad crystallized our nation’s original motto – E pluribus unum … out of many, one – offering a montage of American diversity as young women sang “America the Beautiful” in seven languages.

“The road to perdition”

But others thought the ad was “unamerican,” “an outrage,” “just wrong.” Former Rep. Allen West blogged his outrage:

I’m watching the Super Bowl, looks like good defense (Seattle) is trouncing good offense (Denver) when a Coca Cola commercial came on and it started rather patriotically with the words of “America the Beautiful.”

Then the words went from English to languages I didn’t recognize. Now, I know the politically correct thing is to foster multiculturalism – working really well in Europe – but we should remember the words spoken by President Teddy Roosevelt:

Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.”[…]

I am quite sure there may be some who appreciated the commercial, but Coca Cola missed the mark in my opinion. If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing “American the Beautiful” in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come – doggone we are on the road to perdition.

He went further the next day:

I guess we touched a nerve last night regarding Coke’s “America the Beautiful” Super Bowl ad. Some people felt even questioning why an iconic American song was sung in other languages was racist. There are others, who I figured, just rolled over and said everything is fine.

But the last thing any of us should want to see is a balkanized America. Furthermore, it has to be of concern that we have Americans who lack the resolve to take a stand for our borders, language, and culture. That’s why I included the quotes from President Teddy Roosevelt, because once upon a time that was how Americans felt, and immigrants came here to be a part of the American experience, not bystanders.

Now, here is my recommendation for what the Coca Cola marketing executives should have done. Coke’s “America the Beautiful” should have been sung in English and showed Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen of diverse races, sex, and creed deployed all over the world drinking Coca Cola. If you truly want to show a diverse commitment to service, sacrifice, and honor that enables us to live in “America the Beautiful” that would have been rated the best commercial advertisement of the Super Bowl. And we would be here talking about how we were all touched emotionally.

Apparently only our military are truly worth celebrating.

“The Anglo-American tradition of liberty”

Former Rep. West is black, and many conservatives would argue that his race rebuts any claim that their objection to the Coca-Cola ad is grounded in racism. Perhaps, but Rep. West’s race does not disprove that the outrage about that ad was grounded in white privilege. Consider this explanation by Breitbart’s Michael Patrick Leahy:

As far as the executives at Coca Cola are concerned, however, the United States of America is no longer a nation ruled by the Constitution and American traditions in which English is the language of government. It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty. It is instead a nation governed by some all inclusive multi-cultural synthesis of the various forms of government in the world, as expressed by the multiple languages used in the Super Bowl ad to sing a uniquely American hymn that celebrates our heritage.
The old “America the Beautiful” is beautiful because of the blessings God had heaped on it and because its government offers “liberty in law,” while aspiring for togetherness. Coca Cola’s America is beautiful because of the differences in its people. When the company used such an iconic song, one often sung in churches on the 4th of July that represents the old “E Pluribus Unum” view of how American society is integrated, to push multiculturalism down our throats, it’s no wonder conservatives were outraged.

Let’s parse that. “English is the language of [our] government” and our “tradition of liberty” is “Anglo-American.” Thus, we should be “governed by” English-speaking white people, not “some all inclusive multi-cultural synthesis” (like, say, President Obama). We may be “aspiring for togetherness” in some vague sense, but to celebrate that for even 61 seconds during a Super Bowl broadcast is “to push multiculturalism down our throats.”

“This is about language…not race.”

But of course that’s not about race, as a reader commented at The Blaze:

“‘Horribly Dumb Racist Nutjobs’”

Notice how the Blaze opens up with that line? Thanks a lot Glenn. The Coke commercial was divisive and disgusting. English is the glue that holds us together, without it, America becomes Balkanized.

Racism? What does skin pigmentation have to do with anything? Why is the Left so obsessed with race? This is about language…not race. Is the Left saying that only white people speak English? Half of Africa speaks English…are they white? Stupid leftists.

Multi-ethnicity is a wonderful thing. Multi-culturalism and multi-lingualism are not good things, because they divide us, they create cultural and linguistic ghettos, they contribute to Balkanization.

People of all ethnicities are welcome, provided they adopt the “Anglo-American” culture and speak only English. Anything else is “divisive and disgusting.” But it’s not about “skin pigmentation.” Oh no. “This is about language…not race”

Unless you’re Dutch or French or Polish or Czech. Then it’s fine to learn your ancestral tongue as you compile that genealogy. You’re respecting your family heritage, after all.

If you feel insulted when you hear “America the Beautiful” in any other language, if you think that song celebrates exclusively the “Anglo-American tradition of liberty,” if you think other people can come to “our” country but “we” shouldn’t have to see them or hear their languages for even 61 seconds or we’re on the “road to perdition” with someone trying “to push multiculturalism down our throats” …

… you have a serious case of white privilege. Even if you’re Rep. Allen West.


Happy Thursday!