America, the Beautiful and Diverse: How Far Have We Come?
In a rather good sign of the times, ABC News reported Feb. 7. that soft drink giant Coca Cola would release an even longer version of an ad previously aired on the Super Bowl, which embraces cultural diversity. Coke's original, 60-second Super Bowl ad had enraged haters with its multilingual version of "America the Beautiful" sung in Hindi, English, Spanish and four other languages. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs
The new 90 second ad is titled "It's Beautiful" and was released on the same day as the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. A statement released Feb. 6 by a spokesperson for The Coca Cola company said, "'Its Beautiful' provides a snapshot of the real lives of Americans representing diverse ethnicities, religions, races and families, all found in the U.S. All those featured in the ad are Americans, and 'America the Beautiful' was sung by bilingual American young women."
The original ad whipped up a frenzy on Twitter that saw quotes such as "This is an outrage. America the Beautiful in foreign languages" and "Never buying Coke again. . . "
It’s the same kind of racist backlash that engulfed Nina Davuluri's 2014 win as Miss America. The first woman of Indian descent to wear the Miss America crown, she was disparaged on social media as an Arab or a Muslim—or as somehow not American. "I have to rise above that," said Davuluri of the online comments during her post-pageant press conference. "I always viewed myself as first and foremost American." And indeed she is. Born in Syracuse, New York, an honors student at the University of Michigan, she struggled with bulimia in her 20's. What could be more American than that??
It reminds me of the time my friend Yasmin was telling me, and, a Caucasian friend about the troubles her 6 year-old son was facing at a primarily white school.
"Maybe he's being discriminated because of his ethnicity," tentatively suggested Anne.
Yasmin had a look of bafflement on her face. "But that couldn't be," she asserted.
"Why not?" asked Anne gently.
"Because . . . because I've always believed we're superior!" sputtered Yasmin.
Hahahaha. . . born to the world's oldest civilization—5000 years old; one that discovered the zero; I know other Indians who think that. While I don't subscribe to that mindset, I do believe its time the xenophobes faded away. Cuz today more than 3.4 million people with family ties to South Asia—the blanket term the U.S. Census uses—reside in the U.S., including those from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as Sri Lanka and Nepal. Those who think Nina Davuluri doesn't represent the "girl next door" hasn't looked next door in a while. . .