The Cheerios ad is really sweet: A little girl asks her mom if the cereal is really "heart healthy," hears that it is, and then pours a bunch of it onto her sleeping dad's chest to keep him safe. But controversy has cropped up over the fact that the mom is Caucasian, the dad is African American, and their little girl has light brown skin and gorgeous, tightly-curly hair. While plenty of people lauded General Mills for finally featuring a multiracial family, others have reacted so negatively that the company had to disable comments on its YouTube page Thursday night, a day after the clip went live.
On YouTube, some viewers called the ad "sinister," "an abomination," and an example of "racial genocide." On Reddit, though plenty of users thought the ad was "cute," some were outraged, calling the commercial "disgusting propaganda" and the people in it "race traitors" and worse.
"Shoving multi-culturism down our throats when we know it fails.. awesome," quipped chechnyatx.
Realistically, though, no one's shoving multiculturalism down anyone's throat. According to the most recent U.S. Census data, interracial marriages have reached an all-time high, with 1 in 12 marriages between people of different racial backgrounds, and nearly 50 percent of the children in the U.S. are multiracial. If anything, the Cheerios commercial is a belated reflection of the way many American families have looked for years.
But while multiculturalism is the norm in plenty of places, the United States, in general, still has a long way to go. Anti-miscegenation laws criminalizing interracial marriage were on the books in many states until 1967; Alabama did not officially lift its ban until 2000. As recently as April 2011, a Public Policy Polling survey found that 46 percent of Republicans in Mississippi still thought interracial marriage should be illegal. And then there's this:
"I'm always bothered by that, seeing black men with white women," wrote SRH24 on Reddit on Thursday.
In spite of the outrage online, General Mills isn't acknowledging the negativity. "Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad," Camille Gibson, vice president of marketing for Cheerios, said in a statement sent to Yahoo! Shine. "At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all."
The actors in the ad don't seem to be bothered by the backlash, either.
— Whitney Avalon (@whitneyavalon) May 28, 2013
And, for those who grew up in a multiracial family, the commercial is a welcome step in the right direction.
— Jaymes Vaughan (@JaymesV) May 31, 2013
— Ally (@xoxoalicevega) May 31, 2013