I stopped in my tracks when I noticed the beautiful little girl in the new Cheerios commercial. I thought to myself “aww, isn’t she cute.” Then I noticed the white woman in the commercial, and I turned up the sound on my TV. Is that her mom? I wondered… then it all made sense when they flashed to the sleeping Black dad on the couch covered in Cheerios. I hit the switch on my DVR so that I could watch the entire commercial again. I started clapping, so pumped to see such an adorable and positive depiction of an interracial family on my television.
Here is the video if you haven’t seen it:
We regularly give Cheerios to the boys as a snack between meals, and my husband enjoys various iterations of Cheerios for breakfast. I’m not a big fan of cereal beyond oatmeal, but I’ll tell you what: This will always be a Cheerios house now.
So when I woke up this morning and thought I’d go find it to share on this blog and also my Facebook page, I was surprised and disappointed to find all of this crazy controversy surrounding the commercial! They have disabled the comments on the youtube link for the commercial because there have been so many racist and negative comments about it! Really? Really???
Interestingly, I’m not angry or sad that there was such a harsh reaction. Really, I can’t help but chuckle. In this day and age, with a bi-racial president and a lot of very famous celebrities of multi-racial heritage, one really must wonder what rock people are living under. Why is it a surprise that there are couples out there who are of different races? That those couples are capable of creating children? That those children would be eating Cheerios and encouraging their parents to do the same?
I do think that it is interesting that there are some people who are actively wondering if there is some sort of “interracial agenda.” That there are people who think that we are “shoving” multiculturalism “down people’s throats.” While it is true that I’ve seen progressively more people of color and even integrated groups of friends and families in television shows and commercials, there aren’t always a lot of Black/White interracial couples on television (let alone with obviously bi-racial children). Certainly none of the commercials give the message “YOU MUST LIKE US. WE’RE EVERYWHERE!!!” Though, I mean, we are. And, I mean, you should. We’re pretty cool people, you know!
But let’s say for a second that there is an agenda. That, for some reason, a mastermind of marketing has actively decided to bring multiculturalism into every home. Why is that a bad thing? Why is it bad to view the world as it is, with families of multiple colors participating in normal activities? That there are people who choose to live integrated lives? That people choose to love a person for so much more than the color of their skin or their cultural background?
Why is it so bad to see multi-racial families as perfectly freaking normally? What do you expect us to be doing?
I’m not aiming this post at White people, because it’s well documented that Black folk still have a crazy huge problem with interracial marriages, too. Indeed, I’m still angry at a major publication for unabashedly posting bullshit and propaganda about interracial relationships in the name of garnering views and readership. I know that there is still a subsection of society that has a problem with seeing me, my All-American White Boy husband and my sweet little bi-racial boys. I’m grateful that only a small amount of people have chosen to personally speak to us about it, but you’d think that people would get over themselves by now.
So I’m grateful that Cheerios decided to put out a positive image of families like mine. Thank you for choosing to go against the grain and normalize families that may be rare but certainly deserve the dignity of recognition. Every family in America deserves the opportunity to be spoken to. Some families have had the privilege of being the sole example of “perfection” for a very long time–I’m grateful for the opportunity to get a little of that spotlight.
So thank you, General Mills and Cheerios. Thank you to the marketing team that created that ad. Thank you for decided that give my family the dignity of recognition. Thank you for giving us a much deserved “commercial legitimacy.” Thank you for choosing not to yank the ad despite the multiple disparaging comments. My husband, sons and I are grateful.