The Coca Cola company managed to seriously alienate a large segment of the American population with its Super Bowl ad, which appears to have been the work of progressive multiculturalists, no doubt warming the hearts of true believers in such things by “celebrating our diversity.” The trouble is that this is a small segment of the public, and this whole fiasco indicates just how out of touch the elites who fashion these messages are. This was not a broad unifying theme, but an expression of current left-wing ideology, which is why so many people were offended. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8iM73E6JP8).
The reaction of the left was to predictably characterize such criticism as “racist,” which at this stage is basically code for anything they don’t agree with. Others more mildly called it “nativist” based on the apparent objection to singing “America the Beautiful” in languages other than English, while depicting various ethnic groups. That is any easy conclusion to draw, but it is smugly self-righteous and just plain wrong.
For what people object to is the balkanization of their country and the assignment of individuals to various identity groups, to the point where they supersede any unifying American identity and further having it shoved in their faces. The corollary is that nothing can be done if it offends one of these identity groups, no matter how small (or more likely leftists presuming to represent them), lest we not be “inclusive.” However it is okay to offend the majority and to deny it any cultural rights. Thus, in cultural terms this amounts to the oppression of the majority by those controlling the institutions of communication. God forbid that anything patriotic be expressed, lest it offend someone, (usually leftists themselves). Any hint of even an indirectly mild patriotic subject matter is savaged by the predominantly left-wing critics. Witness the reaction to the film Sole Survivor.
But what they are really objecting to is to those other people objecting to the commercial, whom they stereotype as “conservative white Americans” even if they are something else. The left has a visceral hatred for such “racists” (which you can hear daily, i.e.on the execrable MSNBC). However, most Americans reasonably assume, that since their ancestors came from elsewhere but assimilated, that others should do the same. We all have our private traditions, culture, and background but we do not foist them on the public. Separating people into categories and trying to make them publicly recognized should not be encouraged. Our motto is, after all, E Pluribus Unum.
Ironically the left once stood for the opposite of multiculturalism, favoring terms like “solidarity” and the “new socialist man,” which would presumably have done away with differences, in the process of molding a new, universal human identity. But since that process produced disastrous results it was discredited. Now the left is obsessively anti-racist and therefore has foisted multiculturalism upon us. This is what the Coca Cola company waded into with its ill-conceived commercial. No one would have objected if they had played “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” where the imagery might have made sense. So the objections were hardly “racist,” but simply a reaction to the company essentially taking a position in an ongoing cultural conflict. For that they should pay a price. Although I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for years, for this as well as for health reasons it’s time to say “No more Coke!”