Alsultany, _Selling American Diversity_

Alsultany, _Selling American Diversity_ - | 593 Selling...

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Unformatted text preview: | 593 Selling American Diversity Selling American Diversity and Muslim American Identity through Nonproft Advertising Post-9/11 Evelyn Alsultany I n the weeks after 9/11, patriotic advertising campaigns flooded highway billboards, radio, magazines, newspapers, and television. Some corporations used the tragedy directly or indirectly to market and sell their product. General Motors launched a campaign, Keep America Rolling, offering zero percent financing deals on new cars and trucks. The New York Sports Club encouraged New Yorkers to Keep America Strong by joining the gym on September 25. 1 Some corporations, such as AOL/Time Warner, MSNBC, Ralph Lauren, Sears, and Morgan Stanley advertised that they would not be advertising, instead buying advertising space on billboards, magazines, and television to express their condolences, solidarity, and an inspirational message. 2 Recovery from tragedy came with a corporate sponsor and was endorsed by President Bush and Mayor Giuliani, who encouraged citizens to fight terror through shopping, to practice citizenship through consumerism. Corporations were not alone in producing post-9/11-specific advertisements: nonprofit organizations (e.g., the Ad Council), civil rights groups (e.g., the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, etc.), and the U.S. government have also been involved in post-9/11 advertising. For example, the Ad Council, which produces public service announcements (PSAs), created an extensive advertising campaign that was aired on mainstream network television. Some ads directed persons who had lost family members in the attacks to sources of financial assistance, some alerted the public to chal- lenges they might face in raising their children in the aftermath of tragedy, some told the public how they could get involved and be of assistance, and others aimed to unify the United States across racial lines and inspire patriotism. 3 More than an educational or emotional response to tragedy, post-9/11 nonprofit advertising sought to sell ideas about an imagined American community and redefine American identity and citizenship. 4 Notions of who counted as an American shifted after 9/11. The governments antiterror campaign involved 2007 The American Studies Association | 594 American Quarterly interviewing nearly 200,000 Arabs and Muslims; detaining and deporting thousands of Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians; instituting special registration requirements for Arabs and Muslims; and shutting down Muslim charities and other organizations. Congressional passage of the USA Patriot Act enabled increased surveillance that included wiretapping, monitoring of bank transfers, and extra searches at airports. The governments practice of detaining, deport- ing, and profiling those who appear to be Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim marked these identities as suspect and therefore un-American....
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This note was uploaded on 12/21/2009 for the course HUMANITIES 128 taught by Professor Barron during the Spring '09 term at Harvey Mudd College.

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Alsultany, _Selling American Diversity_ - | 593 Selling...

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