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Can’t We All Just Get Along

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By Catalina Campos
Artwork By Blake Jones

Growing up in Houston is a valuable and unique experience that others are not lucky enough to get. When we reside in one of the most diverse cities in America, we grow up in a community alongside others from all corners of the globe who come to this country for equal opportunity. You would expect that the younger generation, our generation, would grow up tolerant and educated, but that’s not always the case and the controversy surrounding the 2014 Super Bowl Coca-Cola commercial is an unfortunate major reminder of that.

 What’s more beautiful than hearing the Star Spangled Banner sung in different languages with depictions of diverse Americans during the most crucial American game? Absolutely nothing. After the disappointing Super Bowl, many started to complain about the ad on social media sites, angry at the fact that our anthem wasn’t sung in English, what some believe should be our official national language, and furious that they show minorities as representing the whole. Samuel Rajan, disappointed that it even became controversial and states, “The commercial was very well done and points out the diversity the US has and is supposed to have. I didn’t like the outrage and the fact of the matter is, there are going to be other cultures, there are going to be other languages, and at the end of the day we all know the story of the origin of the earliest Americans.”

Of course there was backlash to those comments from the outraged minority groups but these groups really have no right to be firing shots back. Let’s be honest here and admit that racism is very well alive within the young minority groups, especially in Houston. Interracial relationships are often frowned upon and don’t even bring up dating outside your religion. So what gives us the right to criticize the conservative whites on social media protesting the ad when we’re just as guilty as them?

I personally remember visiting College Station and having an uneasy conversation with someone I met. His only and final statement regarding the topic was that, “God created us differently in order to stay within our own respective group. He made me brown and Christian so that I would only stay with browns and Christians and he made you like you, so that you would stay with your own kind.” It was tacky for involving religion and his personal views were blatantly distasteful yet the sad irony of it all is that he is a young, born and raised Houstonian.

Blue Alozie, a Cameroonian on his mother’s side, is in an interracial relationship with a Vietnamese woman, and doesn’t conform to his community’s opinion regarding his relationship. “If you refuse to date, marry, or interact with people outside your religion or race, then you are living in an unrealistic fucking bubble.  I can understand if you aren’t attracted to a certain ethnicity, race, or religion, we all have our preferences. However, voluntarily choosing to deny yourself the opportunity to learn more about others is just plain sad. If it’s because of parental pressure, grow the fuck up. If it’s because it makes YOU feel uncomfortable, understand that life isn’t something you possess, it’s something you take a part in”, Alozie states.

It’s honestly sad that the younger generation of minorities follow in their parents’ footsteps on what they believe should be the proper thing to do and it very well isn’t. It’s backward and insulting towards themselves and others when we still harbor prejudices towards other minority groups or even the Caucasian group. I’m pretty sure that if that wasn’t the case, the Coca Cola ad wouldn’t have been a problem because we would all have a better understanding of each other. Our ethnicity and religion, though they should be meaningful in our life, should not define us as and Alozie clarifies that, “There is nothing wrong with having black, chicano, asian or white pride. It’s the context in which that pride is expressed that defines you”.

At the end of the day, if we want incidents of racism to disappear, it begins with our generation and we should know better than that to let our parents tell us how to live our lives. If that still happened, then segregation would still be a real thing but it was the then young generation of the 1960s who decided enough is enough. At the end of the day, skin color, religion, socioeconomic identity, or whatever else doesn’t even matter, we all bleed red.