"This is America. English only."
"The Coca Cola Company has disgraced our country and the Super Bowl with this disgusting, anti-American commercial."
"Traitors, I hope your company folds under!"
Super Bowl commercials are well-known for their controversial subjects and the chatter they spark post-game, but the conversations following Coca Cola's "America the Beautiful" ad were in a league of their own. The commercial, which featured people of different ethnic backgrounds singing the patriotic tune in various languages, clearly touched a nerve for Americans, and they took their views to social media. Twitter exploded with hashtags like #SpeakAmerican and Coca Cola's Facebook page was inundated with angry comments, including those above.
As a patriotic American and a minority who speaks several languages, I found these comments ignorant, pathetic and racist. I see no contradiction between the commercial and American values, and if it weren't for other users countering these claims and supporting American diversity, I would be truly saddened and fearful about the direction this country is heading in. The vitriolic comments demonstrate a complete disregard of American history as well as the double standards some of our citizens exhibit both in the country and abroad.
To begin with, English is not the official language of the United States. It is indeed the most commonly spoken, but the fact is that America has no official language. Present day America is a nation of immigrants, and the English currently spoken by the majority of Americans was actually inherited from British colonizers who took over Native American land. Essentially, to deny other languages is to deny American history. If proponents of an "American language" want to get really technical, perhaps they should be advocating speaking Cherokee or Navajo instead.
I have a feeling that some of these critics who insist immigrants speak English when they arrive on U.S. soil are the same people who refuse to speak anything but when they travel abroad. These are the tourists you find in Amsterdam or Spain grumbling loudly about having a horrible time because "no one here speaks English!" We are so busy complaining that we completely miss out on appreciating the cultures we came to experience. Is it any wonder that foreigners often view Americans as ignorant, loud, and arrogant?
Overall, I enjoyed the commercial and found it creative and fitting for a country whose strength is her diversity. America is beautiful because her people come from across the globe and bring with them their amazing talents, cultures, and yes, languages. As Americans, to quote one of the young girls who sang in the video, "We have the right to be ourselves." And that is something we should celebrate.