What it means to be American is a contested idea

What it means to be American is a contested idea. As we saw in this week’s readings, it leads to debates involving identity, immigration, and whether to define America in either exclusivist or diverse terms. In the two ad campaign (The 2 links that I provided down there), we saw two organizations – one nonprofit, one commercial – sending messages that emphasize diversity over exclusion. This week, as we reflect upon these materials, we will answer: why does it matter who claims to be an “American?”

Links

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPIXLUrIjXg   (I am an American)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGC2E7GP52U   (Coca-Cola)

In your work, share the following, answer all of these questions:

  • Describe how these ads made you feel. What emotions did they evoke? What particular words or images resonated with you or stuck with you as you viewed them?
  • What do you think motivated the Ad Council to create this ad? What do you think motivated Coca-Cola?
  • Do these ads emphasize a shared history among Americans? Why or why not? Use your course readings to recognize how historical connections can be used to establish group membership.
  • Do these ads emphasize shared experiences among Americans? Why or why not? Use your course readings to recognize the power of public perceptions and how common humanity can be used to establish group membership.
  • Review the US Citizenship requirement to have “good moral character.” Do you think these ads showcase good moral character as an “American” value?
  • Why does it matter who claims to be an “American?”

2 pages

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