My complexion is bronze, and I am American. My first language was Urdu, and I am American. My last name is Khan and I am American — and I refuse to be told otherwise.
What makes this country so unique is not our football, our food or our mannerisms — its our versatility that allows us to accommodate everybody. The quote on the Statue of Liberty reads, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” implying that the United States of America truly is a place where we claim to have liberty and justice for all- and maybe I’m just not seeing it, but I think we have a long way to go before we can truly say that equality is a victor in this great big country we call united.
So just in case you have neglected television and social media for the past week, you’re familiar with last Sunday’s Superbowl, which featured a Coca Cola commercial that aired a chillingly beautiful and heartwarming multi-lingual rendition of “America the beautiful,” a spectacle which clearly outraged a vast number of ignorant and disgraceful excuses for Americans.
The comments included “Coke is the drink for illegal immigrants” and “Boycotting Coke and its offensive ad.” (For the people who did post these ignorant comments, get used to drinking water because the board of Pepsi supports gay marriage and the CEO is a Muslim)
Truth be told, the only offensive part of this whole situation is the fact that people think it is un-American for any other language but English to be considered patriotic.
The negative reactions, in my opinion, are nothing more than intimidation and narrow mindedness. Sadly, there are people more scared of immigrants than guns- people who fail to realize that America is a country of immigrants. Its inception was not even 300 years ago, and before then- everyone was an immigrant.
Having family come from Pakistan, I know exactly what it feels like to be both- Pakistani and American, Which is exactly why I can attest that you CAN be both Pakistani and American- just as you can be Chinese and American or Bolivian and American or French and American- the list goes on.
We come to America, –but we don’t treat ourselves as chalkboards, erasing everything else that we were before. We don’t just look the other way and try to forget our cultures and languages, as if they never existed. And we certainly don’t hide them as if they’re shameful. I believe in a way- displaying our diversity is the most patriotic act we can do for America.
Our different cultures make this country better and stronger. Contrary to the ignorant responses of this commercial- America isn’t weakened because of its citizen’s refusal to belong to a homogeneous culture- it is strong because it takes the different experiences and ambitions and talents of the entire world, and brings them together without deteriorating where they came from.
This advertisement was not a rejection of America, but a celebration of it, and series of tongues, which represent all corners of the entire world. So as the xenophobic choose to deny the globalization and multiculturalism of America, I’m going to go sip on a Coca-Cola and celebrate the fact that the minorities in this country overwhelmingly outnumber the bigots.