Wednesday, June 05, 2013

That freakin' cheerios commercial.

So two people told me directly about this commercial. I had seen it on four or so other blogs before that. A couple-three people posted about it on facebook, and I've seen it discussed on two tv shows. Watch it below, if you haven't seen it already:

So here's what I think about the whole Cheerios interracial couple commercial. Get ready for the bullet points.

--Are we surprised that people leave racist comments on videos on youtube? If so, I don't know why.

--This reminds me of racist hunger games tweet Johnny that I wrote about in this post. Wow, you don't have a problem with interracial marriage? How forward thinking of you. If you would like to take this opportunity to feel morally superior to some trolls on the internet...knock yourself out.

--Who broke the story that Cheerios had to close down the comment section on the video? Was it Mr. Cheerio? Call me cynical, but they have gotten a truckload of free publicity from this story. I'm sure they're familiar with how youtube works (see two dashes point #1)--is it possible some ad guy/gal was thinking a couple steps ahead and saw where this might lead for them?

--As far as my personal feelings about the commercial: It's fine. I have not written about this here before (mainly because I didn't want it to affect my street cred,) but I am in an interracial relationship myself. I am glad that George can see a kid that looks like him on television. But I think their next commercial needs to be hot white dad/hotter black mom--so George can really feel like his family is being represented ;)

--Yes, there are all types of families. Which ones should get the mainstream corporation commercial treatment? Interracial couples? Gay couples? Polygamous families? Polyamorous families? Families where one partner is old enough to be the parent of the other partner? Single teen mothers? Couples where the mom is taller than the dad? Families where everyone is obese? Where someone is blind? Where the family lives in a trailer? A public housing project? Where they're homeless? Some of these and not others? Why?

--The first place that I saw this commercial was an online magazine whose target audience is young black women. One of the conversations going on in the comment section was that commercials like this one serve to help destroy the black family and discount the idea of black love. I put it in italics only because it's an actual thing/concept that I am assuming most of my readers are not aware of. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I think I may write a whole 'nother post (or several) about interracial relationships, but I want to just stick to the commercial for now. I did this bullet point because I think it would surprise some white people to know that some black people aren't super excited about the chance to be featured as member's of a white person's family.

--Which leads me to my final two dashes point. We need to be very wary of the we're just like you, strategy. MLK seemed to be a fan, and I feel like the current push around gay rights seems to have strong elements of this as well. One thing that was so striking about this commercial was that it was so normal. And by normal, I of course mean that it could have been an all-white family with no changes. Because isn't that who gets to be called normal--white people? This whole accept us because we're just like you--we dress like you, talk like you, think like you, waste perfectly good boxes of cereal like you way of thinking is dangerous for at least two reasons. First, it opens up members of your group (of which there are usually many,) that don't conform to this mainstream way of behaving to what appears to be legitimate ridicule and exclusion. Second, it accepts without question the idea that the dominant culture's way of doing everything is the best way. This just reinforces the idea of supremacy that we are supposedly fighting against. White people have had some great ideas (like being on time,) but they haven't figured out the best way to do everything. Some of their ways of functioning are just as destructive as other groups. So instead of trying to fight for your slice of a dysfunctional pie, change the recipe so by the time you get your piece, it already tastes delicious.

You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect because you are a human being, period. Don't forget that.

So those are my thoughts on the Cheerios commercial. As always, I would love to hear what you have to say--so feel free to leave me a comment.


  1. "Like being on time"... Bwahaha! Girl, you are too funny. I like your wittiness. Great points as well.

  2. I've been checking my blogger feed since I heard about the commercial for your review. I knew you'd have something to say :)

    I honestly don't understand why people have such a problem with the commercial.

  3. Chunk Hatzumomo7:29 PM

    I like the commercial, the girl is cute. I feel like this post is more snarky than others, I think it must have been hot when you were writing it and there was no air conditioning.

    Also, though there are all types of families, I think it is clear that interracial attractive people are the new WASPs.

  4. Donna Austin11:11 PM

    First of all, I want to commend you for "outing" yourself as part of an interracial family. I was wondering when you might confess this, and anyone who has a problem with your street cred is an idiot. You are no less black, and the fact that marrying a white man makes you more white is ridiculous.

    Secondly, your first bullet was expounded upon by this post:

    I think David Bell read your bullet and decided it'd make a great article.

    I think the part about Mr. Cheerio starting the campaign was reaching...sorry. David Bell seems to think the competitors were launching a smear campaign. I personally feel it was someone not associated with the cereal industry trying to create news when there was no news.

    Thirdly, the situations that get the mainstream corporate commercial treatment seem to be any situation that is a hot topic of the times. So when all those other families you mentioned get their day in the limelight is when they will get their own commercial, IMHO.

    I think the we're-just-like-you strategy is enlightening and needed still in today's society. I don't understand why you said folks need to be wary of it. What's wrong with normalizing something that should be considered normal. Maybe I'm dense, but I didn't follow you on that one.

    And the white people being on time thing...isn't that a stereotype you're perpetuating? Maybe it was tongue-in-cheek (the internet sucks as far as subtle humor goes).

    I am glad the commercial is still being shown and I figured you wouldn't have a problem with it. Good post, myblackfriend!

  5. i was glad to see so many rally around the commercial but yes, similarly, had a reaction of 'why is there some sort of shock that there are racist remarks?? do any of these people even internet??'

    i also found it a bit hysterical that people were most shocked at the comments of prejudice from black people. and then i found it mindboggling - how out of touch and/or full of supremacy do you have to be to not have heard that black people aren't all thrilled about intermingling??

    i mean, am i the only one who has seen 'save the last dance'??!! ;)

    flippancy aside - i just saw it here and this isn't an "old" mentality at all - see #3 on this list:

    and while i can't help but always side with "love is love" - the objection does hold more validity when it comes from POC.

    but did you know that many racists use that fact (that there are blacks against interracial dating)to justify themselves? in the words of one member of my family who was annoyed at me calling out her racist son "well, you know, THEY don't want to marry US either"

    your definition of normal, or, more accurately, you putting a precise definition to what we think of as normal was certainly something to chew on. the concept isn't new to me - "normative" - but the framing is powerful.

    in part because i think the depictions of normative don't represent any of us - of any color. which isn't to say i don't get that there is a weighty difference between the exclusion of realistic depictions of white people and the exclusion of any depictions or any positive depictions of black people.

    my point is that perhaps if we could all acknowledge that not a soul lives in what we claim to be "normal" then we could leave this forced conformity behind.

    i think the focus *should* be on "we're just like you" - up and down all aisles. but with a clarity that the "like you" means - we all seek dignity and respect, compassion and acceptance, love and fulfillment . . .