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7 Jun 2013

Fighting over Cheerios?

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June 7, 2013 Category: Philly NAACP Posted by:

Cheerios commercials have a knack for being cute. Who remembers the little boy a few years ago singing “Nobody can say no to the honey nut oh in honey nut
Cheerios, not your mama, not grandma, not even daddy…” I loved that commercial.

However, I have to admit that when I first heard the chatter about the newest Cheerios commercial my initial thought was that it was most likely another
national marketing campaign blunder. But then I saw it. And just like most Cheerios commercials, it’s just cute. No really, it is.

It goes like this: the little girl comes into the kitchen and asks her mother if Cheerios are really good for your heart. After her mother says yes, she
runs out of the kitchen with the box of Cheerios. In the next frame, the dad wakes up on the couch covered in Cheerios. (She was trying to make his heart
better.) Cute, right?

But apparently, the racist comments were so horrible that Cheerios had to disable the comments on its YouTube page. So what’s the big deal? The fact that
the family is interracial? Seriously? In 2013 is that really our gripe? Despite the fact that we currently have a mixed President?

I know that we’d all like to say things like “My President is Black”, and claim him as the First Black President, but in all actually, Barack is the son of
a white woman from Kansas.

Statistics show that there are more mixed raced couples in America than ever before, and more people are okay with it too. A 2011 USA TODAY/Gallup poll
found that 86 percent of Americans approve of interracial marriages. 18 percent of opposite-sex unmarried couples and 21 percent of same-sex unmarried
partners identify themselves as interracial. And 10 percent of 5.4 million opposite-sex married couples had partners of a different race in 2010.

Why then are the commenters upset? (I’ll refrain from calling them racists, but their comments were most certainly racist) Is it because there was a child
in the commercial? Because I can’t quite seem to understand the difference between the interracial couple in the Cheerios commercial and the interracial
couple in Scandal(except that Olivia Pope and Fitz are actually having an affair and are involved in a much bigger plot that involved stealing the
American vote to get Fitz elected President… but I digress.) However, ABC’s Scandal is one of the most watched shows in America, and its season
finale (which aired in May) was the most watched telecast ever.

Maybe the real problem isn’t that Cheerios decided to create a commercial that portrayed the current state of the American family, but rather that through
the power of the internet, social media sites, and blogs, we’ve now given a platform to anyone who wants one. Had the father not been black, the commercial
would have just been another cute Cheerios commercial.

The unfortunate fact is that while we discuss how wrong those comments were and what the issues are behind them, the families who look like the one in the
Cheerios commercial are being ostracized by those who feel it necessary to discuss their right to choose the makeup of their own families. And by those who
felt it necessary to share their most ugly and hateful thoughts on the commercial.

The nuclear family is almost obsolete in America, with blended families, adopted families, and many other types becoming more common. But that doesn’t make
one ‘family type’ better or worse than another. Most importantly no one deserves to have their choices berated by idiots who have nothing better to do with
their time than to write mean spirited (and mostly grammatically incorrect) YouTube comments about a cereal commercial! I mean really, I am sure we all
have much bigger things to focus on.

“Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all,” responded
Camille Gibson, Cheerios Vice President of Marketing when asked about possibly pulling the ad.

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