This week there has been an awful lot of hubbub over a certain Cheerios ad. The ad depicts a biracial child, a white mother and a black father. The spot debuted last week, and was uploaded to YouTube. The racist comments were so pervasive on the YouTube video that General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, had to disable the comments.
I watched the ad two days ago, when I had first heard mumblings about it via my social media channels. I then saw it on television last night as it was intended, as a commercial. Neither time did I find it earth shattering news. It wasn’t shocking. It wasn’t eye opening.
But I awoke this morning to a virtual firestorm of everyone talking about it on Facebook after a segment aired on a morning show. It spread quickly. No one in my feed had anything negative to say about the actual ad.
Therein lies the problem. The naysayers and racist remarks that dogged the YouTube comments were mostly anonymous. Yet another example of hateful people hiding behind their computer screens, letting the most derogatory, disgusting things fly from their fingertips.
Most of the racist comments centered around the black father. One commenter wrote “More like single parent in the making. Black dad will dip out soon.” Others wrote about being made sick by the commercial and wanting to vomit. There were over 1,500 “thumbs down” given to the innocuous ad promoting cereal.
Why do I care? What does it matter to this white mother of four, married to a blond hair, blue eyed Caucasian male? Because I love and adore these two little girls:
They are my nieces. They are my little sister’s girls. She herself is blond haired and green eyed. But their daddy is biracial. Most would see him and say he is a black man. And I love all four of them.
They have created a family. And as much as my household is a bustling brood of rambunctious boys, theirs is a pink and purple loving, tutus and tiaras wearing princess palace. In the center of that household is a strong, hardworking, loving dad.
In that family, do you know who is the nurturing one? He is. My sister is the disciplinarian. If you were to take “traditional” roles, in their household the tables are turned. They always have been. He was ready for kids before she was. He was the one that contemplated staying home. And he has always been there.
The hate spewed this week behind a veil of anonymity disgusts me. The stereotype astound me. But they push me to teach my children better. I do so so that my own boys and those beautiful little girls live in a world with a little less hate and a tad bit more understanding. Thankfully, I have a great role model to refer to. Their Uncle Brian.
Black men do not always leave. Biracial children are breathtakingly beautiful. A big, tough, football player of a guy can be a soft and gentle father. Truths that jumped to the forefront of my mind this morning while watching the news stories spring up.
I think this video, taken before the ad ever showed up and posted to my sister’s facebook May 20th, sums it up perfectly. This is family. Today. In America.
Thank you Cheerios for showing my family. For giving my nieces something to identify with on TV. To celebrate you, Cheerios, today my favorite biracial brother in law made a treat with his daughters. A Cheerios, marshmallow and chocolate chip s’mores like concoction. Because today we love our Cheerios!