February marks the beginning of Black History Month. A month to celebrate the wide variety of culture provided by a race that was abused for millenium.
In Perkiomen Valley, posters hung by the bus entrance celebrating this special month. Not only is it Black History Month but also the first time the
Eagles have won the Superbowl. Massive waves of excitement ran through Philadelphia on the night they won against the Patriots. Aside from the adrenaline-fueled game there were, as per tradition, hilarious commercials for various companies. Tide and Budweiser ran hilarious ads that quickly became internet memes; Yet, the most striking of these commercials was one ran by Dodge to showcase their new line of trucks.
The commercial featured scenes of service and volunteering to help those in need. The dialogue in the background came from a sermon delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The sermon itself addressed the character and benefits of giving and providing service to the community.
King highlighted the good that is shown through the value of service and how one person can have a broader impact on society. The correlation between these two figures, Dodge trucks and a civil rights leader is unclear and extremely disheartening. This revolutionary figure who paved the way for African Americans to have equal rights in the US is now paired with Dodge Trucks. This is disrespectful to both his message and the civil rights movement as a whole.
Dodge’s use of the sermon as a means to sell trucks is a symbolic slap in the face to the civil rights movement and everything they accomplished.
To use his words for corporate profits dilutes his message of the value of service to that of getting a truck for zero down and zero apr at your local Dodge dealer.
The lawyer of the estate of Dr. King, Eric D. Tidwell, stated that the “We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others.” To Dodge this is not accomplished with the absence of Dr. King’s sermon. Merely showing benevolent citizens providing for one another to the backdrop of solemn music is not enough for them.
Racial tensions are extremely high in America right now. We had massive protests last year for the killing of unarmed African Americans by police.
Police brutality is currently in question against minorities. Only last year NFL players were criticized for kneeling during the pledge to the flag in protest of discrimination. These players faced immense criticism with some even losing their job such Colin Kaepernick. However if a truck company wishes to use a civil rights leader to showcase their new line of trucks then the NFL allows it.This history of our nation should be respected and we should learn from it. However, the use of Dr King Jr.’s sermon in a car commercial is disrespectful not only to his message and his importance but also to his impact. To Dodge, Martin Luther King Jr is a nice backdrop to their trucks being used to help volunteers. To America, he is a visionary who saw the good in people and promoted equality for all as stated in the Constitution.
Source: NY Times