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Racial Coca Cola Superbowl Ad could have different twist
By Ray Hanania
What makes the Coca Cola Superbowl Ad so racist isn’t just that it stereotypes an Arab in typical racist fashion. Walking in desert with a camel that refuses to budge. The Arab bedouin — some American dude who probably can’t even say “hummus” — stands in the desert pulling his camel along and then sees a large Coca Cola bottle in the distance.
But before he can rush towards it, other competitors come out of the sand horizon. Leather bound bikers. A gaggle of Cowboys on horses. A bus load of Las Vegas dancers — or strippers, or maybe prostitutes if you really want to get into what Las Vegas is really all about.
The Bikers, Cowboys and the stripper whores all race to get to the Coca Cola bottle first, only to discover a sign next to it that says Coca Cola 50 Miles with an arrow pointing to the left.
Coca Cola thought it was very funny and is asking viewers who they think will win, the bikers, whores or the cowboys, who I assume have been dragged away from stealing farmlands from Native Americans someplace in Oklahoma or Texas. For that matter, how do you get a motorcycle gang to leave a rowdy bar fight to grab a tasteless bottle of Coca Cola? And prostitutes running from a dollar to grab the Coca Cola bottle makes no sense either, since most drinks in Las Vegas are free to almost everyone in a Casino, even the professional entertainment.
A bunch of American Arabs have denounced the Ad as racist.
Well, it isn’t racist per se. The Ad message isn’t some anti-Arab stereotype that usually fills the pages of my morning newspaper or most talk radio shows across the ramparts of America. But the Ad is racist in context, since America is probably the most anti-Arab country in the world. Oh yes. America is a racist country. It invented racism, first against Blacks, then against Mexicans and now, since Sept. 11, 2001 and the new “patriotism,” against Arabs and Muslims.
It doesn’t take much to rile up the American Arab community. With the most lame and ineffective leadership of any ethnic group, Arabs are easily stirred up to anger. Rarely anything positive. Always protesting and complaining but at the same time always undermining themselves. Like when they denounce the racist Chicago Sun-Times newspaper in Chicagoland for its unending racist assault in its editorials and columns, and then goes on to serve as the largest vendors of the newspaper in their grocery stores across the city. Does that make sense? It should. It’s typical American Arab.
The Coca Cola Ad has a taste of racism and stereotyping in it, for sure. About as much racism as Coca Cola has carcinogens in it’s secret recipe. Oh yes, those dietary chemicals it puts into the syrup to help consumers think that a Diet Coke somehow is going to help you lose weight, not worrying about whether or not drinking the toxic health mix might cause cancer.
That Coca Cola causes cancer is something many people believe. It’s a stereotype, too. Something that plagues the soft drink maker as much as racism plagues American Arabs.
Without the Ads, what would the Super Bowl be anyway? The only reason to watch the Super Bowl isn’t to enjoy the football game. Football is basically a lame sport, compared to soccer which enjoys the mantle of being called “football” in every other country except America. Maybe the world should have a Superbowl of Soccer — oh yes, they already do. But let’s add a 30 minute half time break where high priced entertainment can lip sync popular songs about gangsters and drugs and sex, and commercials can bombard audiences with pitches to waste money on junk and garbage in very creative ways. Each Ad costs about $3 million for 30 seconds.
Profiteering from consumers is an American past time, as popular as the tossing of a pigskin around a fake grass field. (The grass isn’t even real at most football stadiums!)
If you don’t think the inclusion of an Arab pulling a camel across a desert is racist, then maybe we can adjust the ad a bit. Let’s put in a Rabbi carrying a Torah across the desert, who is out run by the biker gang, cowboy rustlers and Las Vegas show girls.
Or how about using any of the other disgusting racial profiles or racial stereotypes to replace the Arab; maybe throw in a Black man in a prison bus filled with Blacks, or a Mexican trying to sneak across the border with a truckload of human bondage? Those are disgusting images, too, that don’t represent the real African American or the real Mexican American.
And a guy dragging a camel across a desert doesn’t represent an Arab either.
So why doesn’t this country drop the racist hatred and subtle stereotypes and exaggerated images of minorities and start dealing with the realities of its own problems?
How about we kick Coca Cola and other soft drinks out of our schools and teach our children to eat and drink healthy, instead of consuming all that cancer-causing chemically preserved food products that are thrown at our children every Saturday morning on television?
I’m not wasting my time protesting the Coca Cola Super Bowl Ad because of including an Arab stereotype. But I think boycotting Coca Cola products isn’t just a great idea. It’s the first step in standing up to the unhealthy trash that is spoon fed to our children that probably does cause cancer.
- Arab-American Groups Calling Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad Racist (Video) (nesn.com)
- Arabs Complain Coke’s Superbowl Ad Is ‘Racist’ (patdollard.com)
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com