Embracing diversity essential to U.S.

Savanna Hennig

Back in February, I sat watching the Super Bowl. Well, more honestly, I watched the commercials during the Super Bowl. One commercial caught my eye.

Savanna Hennig
Savanna Hennig

The Coca-Cola commercial.

For those who haven’t seen the commercial, it was a rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung in more than one language, all while showing individuals of various races, religions and sexual orientations.

While I thought the entire commercial was beautiful, the commercial did spark so much controversy, and even the ignorant Twitter hashtag #SpeakAmerican. There was outrage about using “a terrorist’s language,” and an “un-American” commercial, despite the entire cast of the commercial being legal American citizens.

The painful feeling of hate and discrimination has definitely not left the United States.

America was built on the idea of it being a “melting pot” of cultures, but yet we tend to be not as open to the idea of something different, something outside our own culture. There’s a sort of fear, or even a sort of distrust of something we don’t necessarily understand: whether it be a different sexuality, a different religion or a different race of people all together.

The other day I was sitting in an economics class, and the topic of illegal immigrants came up. Several moments during the discussion I watched as students, filled with pride for America, defended the idea of kicking all immigrants, legal or otherwise, out of the country. I do understand the politics behind the debate, and I understand it’s a hot topic.

But during that same discussion in class, I saw several of my classmates forget that the immigrants referred to are human beings. The simple solution of “kicking them out” seemed, to me, the equivalent of taking an unwanted couch and leaving it outside near the dumpster. These human beings were degraded instantly to items.

On Friday, March 21 Federal Judge Bernard Friedman overturned the ban on gay marriage, and Michigan became the 18th state to allow gay marriage. That is, until Attorney General Bill Schuette called for a request to stay Friedman’s decision. I’m absolutely appalled at how many people attack and protest gay marriage, harshly calling these human beings untraditional and disgusting.

What has happened to having respect for your fellow man? What has happened to the elementary “treat others the way you want to be treated?” I guess in today’s society the one that deserves to be considered a “fellow man” in the United States has to be white, straight and Christian.

We all are human. We, as Americans, are heading down the road where we dehumanize individuals that are different than us. We forget to think about how others feel. We forget that other people have emotions, have a life, have loved ones. Instead, we tend to be quick to judge that person on one trait alone and quickly give them a degrading title. We forget that other people are human, just like us.

I’m not asking for anyone to change the world. I’m asking for a little more compassion for fellow human beings.

Never dehumanize someone, never label someone with an unfair stigma. So much hate, even if just sparked by a simple Super Bowl commercial, would instantly be avoided.