Living in Taiwan means that we miss many American holidays and traditions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Super Bowl. While neither of us are football fans, we enjoy watching the Super Bowl for the snacks and commercials. In the age of social media, even living in a different country really doesn’t mean we’re completely out of the loop. We get to read everyone’s updates about how Denver only scored 3 points, Mattress Mac lost $7 million dollars because of a bet with his customers, how the Red Hot Chili Peppers have lost it, and all that jazz (it’s really more entertaining personally). But, my favorite thing social media has given us is the opportunity to watch the Super Bowl commercials post-Super Bowl.
There were lots of good ones, but my heart was saddened by many American’s hateful response to Coca Cola’s “America is Beautiful” commercial. If you don’t remember it, or haven’t seen it, here it is.
It’s a beautiful multi-lingual rendition of America the Beautiful (NOT the national anthem, as so many of these haters suppose- I guess they didn’t listen closely and sing along at the beginning of the game) depicting American people doing American things in America, drinking an American favorite. Many people responded with such hate, racism, and xenophobia to this simple and beautiful ad campaign stating that “in America we speak English.” Let’s just overlook the fact that many people who posted such comments can’t even use grammatically correct English, and look at a foreigner’s point of view.
Being a foreigner in another country has given us a lot of perspective on what it’s like to live in America and not speak the language and be illiterate. That’s right, in the country that Nick and I live in, we are completely illiterate. We are the people who cause citizens to say, “If you’re going to live here, you should speak Chinese!” Now, most of the people we come into contact with on a daily basis are very nice and hopefully don’t say those hateful things behind our backs, but it’s possible. Living in another country is hard. You move away from your family. You are in a foreign land that you are not familiar with at all. You don’t speak the language. You can’t read. You have very few contacts. You are in a constant state of confusion. You go without things because you can’t communicate your needs. You are brave.
So why do people do this? Why do people move to another country and leave everything they know behind? Because they are in search of something better. We moved to Taiwan for great jobs, just like many of the people who move to America. They think, “This is the place to be. This is where I will make my new life.” After having seen some of the places that these people come from, I can see why they want to move to America. We should be proud that people come to our country thinking, “this is where it’s at.” We should welcome these people and try to make their lives easier. We should respect them and the choices they have made. Who cares if they don’t speak English? As a matter of fact, we Americans should try harder to learn other languages and see other countries, but that’s a conversation for another day and another post.
Because America is a “melting pot,” we as Americans have a valuable and unique opportunity. We can experience other cultures daily. We know what the people of the world look like. We don’t stare at people who have a different skin color, because that’s part of our everyday life. No other place in the world offers that wonderful opportunity. The fact that the people living here speak other languages is what makes America America. We are THE melting pot. So don’t be so narrow-minded. Embrace it. Love it.
Thank you Coca Cola for reminding us of the beautiful country that we live in that attracts people from all over the world. Thank you for reminding us of all the opportunities to learn about other cultures from the comfort of our own homes. Thank you.