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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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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