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.
PS: I happen to love the commercial.