Toward the end of the first half of yesterday’s Super Bowl, Coca-Cola premiered an ad called “It’s Beautiful” featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in seven different languages. The ad immediately caused outrage on Twitter, hash tags like #SpeakAmerican instantly were trending and people’s ignorance about this country’s true history became glaringly evident.
Many Twitter users think that “America the Beautiful” is this country’s National Anthem and that English is this country’s national language. Neither of which is true. The “Star Spangled Banner” is in fact the National Anthem.
According to USA.gov, “There is no ‘official’ language for the United States, although some individual states list English as their official language.”
Moving on to more historic points of fact: English is of course a foreign language to this country. When the first European explorers arrived here there was not just one Native American language—another common misconception—but hundreds spoken.
Many of those languages have survived and one was represented in the Coca-Cola ad. As Darrell Dodi Robertson pointed out when Deadspin posted its story, titled “Dumb People Mad at Multi-Lingual ‘America the Beautiful’ Coca-Cola Ad,” to Facebook, “My wife speaks Navajo. And they weren't even included in the commercial.”
Languages featured in the Coca-Cola ad were English, Spanish, Tagalog, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres, and Senegalese-French.
Keres is a language spoken by the Pueblo people and is also known as Keresan. The language is spoken by nearly 11,000 people in the American Southwest today.
Many Native American languages are endangered and some tribes are working to preserve them. According to Native-Languages.org, Navajo is spoken by some 150,000 people.
Not everyone reacted so harshly to the commercial. Some like the melting pot aspect that Coca-Cola was trying to get across and even pointed out that Indigenous Peoples were here first.
As Deborah Powers said on Facebook, “I thought is was awesome!!! America is a ‘melting pot’ of so many different cultures and people. And why do you all think English is the only language we should be speaking? Aren’t the various Native Americans the original inhabitants of this country? Why are you all so intolerant? Were your ancestors all from here originally? Lighten up people. Why all the negativity????”