Kumbaya Y'all

In Obama era , more television ads project images of racial harmony

By Todd Lewan
The Associated Press
(March 2, 2009) Ever see an inner-city schoolyard filled with white, Asian and black teens shooting hoops? Or middle-aged white and Latino men swigging beer and watching the Super Bowl on their black neighbor's couch? Or Asians and Latinos dancing the night away in a hip-hop club?

All it takes is a television.

Yes, that mesmerizing mass purveyor of aspiration, desire and self-awareness regularly airs commercials these days that show Americans of different races and ethnicities interacting in integrated schools, country clubs, workplaces and homes, bonded by their love of the products they consume.

Think about one of Pepsi's newest spots, "Refresh Anthem," which debuted during the Super Bowl. The ad, which features Bob Dylan and hip-hop producer, is a collage of images from the '60s and today that celebrate generations past and present.

Whites and blacks are shown returning from war, surfing, skateboarding, dancing and waving American flags at political rallies, while a boyish Dylan and a present-day take turns singing the Dylan classic, "Forever Young," each in his signature style.

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