Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"America the Beautiful"?


If you watched the Super Bowl this past Sunday, you may have seen Coca-Cola's "It's Beautiful" commercial featuring scenes from American life paired with a multi-language version of "America the Beautiful." While some saw the commercial as a powerful celebration of American diversity, others took offense to the advertisement. In "Coca-Cola's "America the Beautiful" Super Bowl Commercial Sparks Outrage on Twitter," E! Online reported that following the ad #SpeakAmerican instantly began trending on Twitter. Many angry comments flooded social media in the ensuing hours, some attacking the commercial, others attacking the attackers.

Dean Obeidallah of The Daily Beast also reacted to the commercial, specifically the hateful criticisms. In "Coca-Cola Critics Have Never Heard of ‘E Pluribus Unum’," he commented:

But here’s the thing: America was intended to be a multicultural nation. The philosophy of our nation’s Founding Fathers is etched upon the Great Seal of The United States adopted by Congress in 1782. There it is written: “E pluribus Unum,” or “Out of many, one.”

It could not be more clear that the very people who created our country intended it be a place where people of different backgrounds could live together and become one as Americans. That’s exactly why my mother’s parents emigrated from Sicily, and my Palestinian father came to this country. It was the promise of nation where different backgrounds would not only be tolerated but thrive together.

And to be honest, the notion of “E pluribus Unum” is more relevant today than it was in 1782 because of our nation’s evolving demographics. Currently, racial and ethnic minorities represent approximately half of the children under age five in the U.S. And estimates are that by 2043
the white majority in the U.S. will be over. America will soon be even more diverse and multicultural.

Here’s the simple message that those who were outraged over the Coke commercial must accept: America will change with or without you.

How did you react to the "America the Beautiful" commercial? What did the commercial represent for you? Share your reactions below.

1 comment:

Timothy said...

A beautiful video compilation in response to the negative reactions to this commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FToY3BfHRU#t=89