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Immigration in Pop Culture

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84 Lumber Ad shows a mother and her child on their journey to America.   PHOTO COURTESY OF POPSUGAR.COM

84 Lumber Ad shows a mother and her child on their journey to America. 


Patrice Gomez

It’s the twenty-first century — what better way to grab people’s attention about important subjects than by using pop culture? 

People dream of coming to this country because they think it is a land of opportunities. Warren Buffett once said in an interview with The Atlantic that America has the better life because, “We’re an aspirational country in a sense, and this country has a mechanism that allows aspirations to work their way into society, with a lot of fits and starts.” 

The dream of being in that mechanism of opportunities: to be employed, access an education, and support a family is often what people believe is the “better life” waiting in America, which is why so many people travel here. As a rising issue, this is something that cannot be put on the backburner, and most social media platforms are hopping on board to talk about such a controversial topic.

Potential changes to our nation include the Muslim Ban, which denies Muslims from entering the United States and the wall being built along the U.S.-Mexican border which Trump himself claimed, “Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.” Political cartoons, and videos have represented many different thoughts about our country not being the ‘land of opportunity’ with their media platform. 

President Trump’s wall was one of his biggest campaign promises when he was a candidate. Now that he is the president, it is starting to become a reality. Trump proposedbuilding a wall across the border in order to keep immigrants out of the country. This past January, hesigned an executive order to start funding and building the wall. This year’s Super Bowl commercials dealt with immigration, some subtly and others less so. 

84 Lumber, a lumber company, released a commercial about Trump’s wall, telling a story of a mother and daughter leaving their home from Mexico in hopes of starting a new life in the U.S. After the long journey, their hopes are crushed as they see the wall is standing in the way of crossing into America. At this point, the commercial cut off and viewers were directed to 84 Lumber’s website to see the rest of the video. As viewers directed their attention to the full commercial on their laptops, they saw one of the construction workers create a door for the mother and daughter to cross the border. This video was posted on Youtube Monday morning and has already received two million views. The Los Angeles Times reporter Libby Hill wrote in her article “84 Lumber Responds to Controversy (and confusion) over its Super Bowl commercial” Fox did not want to show the full five minute ad because it was, “too controversial for TV,” and only showed 90 seconds of the clip, which is why viewers had to go onto their website for the full video.

Washington Post reporter Thomas Heath interviewed 84 Lumber representative Steve Radick — who created a spot for the ad — the day after the Super Bowl about the commercial’s controversial topic. People who were shocked by the video accused the company of promoting illegal immigration. “Anytime you talk about advertising, you try to tap into pop culture,” said Radick in a public statement. “To ignore politics and say we can’t talk about anything controversial 

because we can’t take the risk of offending anyone, we then end up with a really bland message.”

Another commercial that aired was from the Airbnb company showing a variety of people’s faces with the message saying, “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong.”  Nick Visser, a reporter from The Huffington Post, interviewed the founders of the company: Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk. “They are, quite literally, in need of a place to belong,” said the founders, “which is why we’ve been inspired to take action.”

The Super Bowl Budweiser commercial showed a German man leaving his homeland for America in hopes of becoming a brewmaster. When he arrives, he gets shunned because he is from Germany, but in the end he is able to fulfill his dream and creates the Budweiser beer company. Some had a negative view of the ad because it showed propaganda “supporting immigration.” Trump supporters started a trend on Twitter called #boycottbudweiser. A Twitter user by the name of @lilojuicy tweeted, “Never drinking @Budweiser again you should respect the AMERICAN president instead you mock with liberal propaganda #boycottbudweiser.” 

  A  website for political cartoons called Townhall.com, posts material every day; immigration was a common topic last week. Townhall cartoon artist Bob Gorrell posted a drawing on Wednesday of Trump in the Oval Office saying, “It’s been a total disaster from the start! We need to repeal it and replace it” while pulling out an executive order that read, “My immigration ban.” Another cartoon they posted last Monday was a woman protesting for immigration rights with a conservative woman commenting “True but the point is ‘Legal’ immigration. By omitting that qualifier you make a point that no one is arguing.” As a result, the protester smashes the poster on the conservative woman’s head. Last but not least was the comic of Trump tweeting about immigration and asking, “Which emoji should I use about this topic?” These pictures have a thousand words but they all have the same message. It is a clever way to show people a visual representation of what is happening in our nation. 

The advertising and art worlds are trying to grab people’s attention in hopes of ensuring that immigrants have equal opportunities in this country. The advertisement world is trying to emphasize this issue. After these commercials and cartoon drawings have been displayed, this country seems to be a place where people want to be in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This cartoon demonstrates the different views on immigration.  PHOTO COURTESY OF TOWNHALL.COM

This cartoon demonstrates the different views on immigration.