Cheerios and Racist Nonsense

Last night, before rolling into bed, my 9-year-old daughter was talking to my wife about our family.

“I like how we’re all different,” she said.

“How do you mean?” the wife asked.

“None of us look alike,” Casey said. “We have black, we have Asian, we have white—we’re all different.”

The wife was thrilled. So am I.

Growing up, I was part of a typical homogenous clan. We were all white. My mom’s side was from Germany, my dad’s side was from Russia. We all looked the same, all had similar life experiences. Not that anything’s wrong with this—it’s fine. Yawn. Just not especially unique or interesting.

Time has changed everything. I spent this past weekend with my two nephews—sons of a white mother (my wife’s sister) and an African-American father. My cousin just had his third child—with his wife, who is Korean. When my family gets together for holidays, it’s a rainbow coalition. A beautiful rainbow coalition.

I bring this up because Cheerios recently released the above commercial, which features a bi-racial child and her parents. The words on YouTube were so viciously negative that General Mills had to disable the the comments section.

On the one hand, this shocks me. I mean, we live in 2013, and we live in a nation that’s become jarringly (in a good way) diverse and open. The strides that have been made, when it comes to understanding and appreciating and embracing others, warm my heart. They really do. Though it sounds like a cliche, I want my nephews to be judged by who they are; to be seen not as black or white or bi-racial, but as people.

On the other hand, however, I’m not shocked at all. The nation is still populated by stupid people who prefer to live in cocoons; who believe whites belong with whites, blacks belong with blacks, Asians belong with Asians. They hold on to this antiquated un-ideal, and see any encroachments as a threat upon society.

Luckily, they are slowing fading away.

Slowly.

PS: I happen to love the commercial.

6 thoughts on “Cheerios and Racist Nonsense”

  1. The first mentions of the ad came with the words “racist Cheerios ad.” Made me think of the recent Volkswagen commercial featuring white folks using Jamaican accents. But This was the first time I actually saw the Cheerios spot, so my initial reaction was WHAT racism? Perhaps people think ANYTHING that has to do with race is inherently racist?

  2. This whole thing has me shaking my head. When I first heard about the controversy regarding a Cheerios commercial, I had no idea what they were talking about. When I saw it, I realized that I had seen the commercial before, and the fact that the mom was white, and the father was black just never occurred to me.

  3. I love that commercial. It was witty, adorable, funny, aww moment. Screw the naysayers. Thank you for wake the hell up post, it was awesome hearing a guy say it. Hats off to you for being such a wonderful dad.

  4. If the parents looked alike, no one remembers the ad. Cheerios suceeds in making an ordinary commercial newsworthy. These things shouldn’t matter in society, but they still do, if only a little bit. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t feel the need to mention the ethnicities of your extended family in this post.

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