“I’d Like to Buy the World A Coke”

Coca-Cola’s 1971 tagline, “I’d like to buy the world a coke” became the basis for the song “I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)”.

Last night, Coca-Cola infiltrated the minds of many Americans with its new commercial, “It’s Beautiful.” This commercial seemed to remind many Americans that America, is not homogeneous

To me, Coca-Cola walks hand in hand with American exceptionalism in this video; imagine my surprise (though I should have seen it coming) when I saw the internet backlash. I am still trying to figure out what, outside of bigotry, causes so many to be insulted by a group of young Americans praising the glory of America without abandoning their native culture.

Of course, this trending subject became a topic for many political pundits. Former Florida Rep. Alan West had this to say:

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.

I’ve never heard of this singular American culture that West speaks of? Any guess as to what that is?

Of course, our favorite Heritage NOT History advocate, Connie Chastain, had this to say:

Yes, I’m a Southerner first. Yes, I’m a secessionist. But I grew up American, and I retain enough loyalty to my culture, American culture  — not to the government, not to the leftist agenda — but to American culture, that I found this offensive almost to the point of abominable…

Connie’s American culture is ironically aligned with West’s. I say ironically because Connie is not really in favor of black leadership as exhibited by her numerous rants proclaiming white European Christian ancestry as the superior culture on planet Earth. It is also ironic that the defender of Heritage is really only in favor of a perverted American Heritage. Foreigners need not apply.

Personally (aside from the exceptionalism), I thought the commercial was a wonderful illustration of the diversity of America. The United States has always been diverse. It is made up from numerous cultures from different corners of the globe. From the outset, Americans realized that the new country qualities representative of a melting pot. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were printed in foreign languages shortly after their publications. Henrich Miller’s “Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote” printed the DOI a mere five days after its approval. The America has no official language and I think it is presumptuous to claim that it is an “unwritten rule” in a nation state driven by written law. Yet at the same time, the commercial helped to highlight a prevalent and lasting ugliness in America. The reaction is reminiscent of 1920s American xenophobia that obviously never left. The ignorant Nativism exhibited is ridiculous beyond reproach. The message seems clear, it’s English or bust; anything else leads to the downfall of the country (what these people call ‘multiculturalism’). The only positive aspect that can be drawn from those reactions, is that there seems to be no criticism of the featured gay couple. According to GLAAD, this is the first time that a gay family has ever been featured in a U.S. television commercial.  I cannot help but wonder though, if the hatred of multilingual Americans singing a patriotic hymn somehow blinded many to this fact.

I want to sign off with a couple of questions that I, and hopefully you, will ponder: Does being an American mean assimilating and abandoning your native culture? And what culture, exactly, are you assimilating into if you do? Thoughts?

Update: Brooks Simpson posted on this topic here. Brooks also posted an “It’s Beautiful: Behind the Scenes” video. After watching it, I was able to locate Coca-Cola’s YouTube page and watch more of their behind the scenes exclusives.

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8 thoughts on ““I’d Like to Buy the World A Coke”

  1. Bryant

    “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.” -Allen West

    So basically, nothing else depicts the beauty of America more than imaging the efforts of service members deployed all over the world. A representation of less than 1% of the American population…. with no imagery of the U.S., but rather the world…. while “America the Beautiful” is blaring loud and proud….

  2. Isabel

    Gracias por compartir tu perspectiva, Rob. Como te prometí, aquí va la mía:

    I find this backlash fascinating as well. I think it’s mostly bigotry, but I also think it is a reaction to a loss of perceived power or identity. The white majority of this country does not all react this way, but the loud and hilariously ignorant minority of people, like the Connie Chastains of the internet netherworld, they get the stupid spotlight every time……..

    [From the Editor: For the rest of Isabel’s story, follow the link below]

    https://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/isabels-coca-cola-response/

  3. Pingback: Isabel’s Coca-Cola Response | The Historic Struggle

  4. It is amazing to me you want to accept all these other cultures and heritages except the Confederate Heritage. What happened to your buzz word tolerence? What exacrly do you have have against the white race?

  5. Nightflyer

    Of course, the defenders of Confederate heritage and the “white race” forget about the Native Americans and Jews who served the Confederacy, like Stand Watie and Judah P. Benjamin…I wonder if they would be allowed to live in the new Confederacy?

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