A ‘post-racial society’? Backlash to Cheerios ad says otherwise


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Over the next few weeks, perhaps as early as Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the affirmative action case of Fischer v. University of Texas at Austin, (11-345), involving the University of Texas at Austin’s
use of race in undergraduate admissions decisions; and  Shelby County v. Holder, (12-96), which involves the question whether Congress’ decision in 2006 to reauthorize Section 5 of
the Voting Rights Act under the pre-existing coverage formula of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act exceeded its authority.

It would be a fairly safe bet that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas will state with certainty, and no sense of irony, that the United States is now a "post-racial society" where racism no longer exists, and public policies to eliminate the vestiges of institutional racism like affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act are no longer needed in a "race-neutral society." One has to wonder what America they live in.

This story over the weekend should cause the Justices to question their "post-racial society" certitude. Backlash greets Cheerios ad with interracial family:

Here we go again, with more proof, if anyone needed it, that the
post-racial American society some hoped the election of an African
American president signified is far from here.

Who would have thought that breakfast cereal would trigger the latest
racial battle line? In this case, a Cheerios ad much like every other
homespun Cheerios ad — with a heart healthy message and loving family –
ran into trouble from some commenters because of the kind of family it
featured. Mom is white, dad is black and their cute little daughter is a
mix of the both of them.

That’s it.

Cheerios had to disable comments on YouTube – I’m not going to repeat
them but you can imagine the general witless racism with stereotypes
about minorities and warnings of race-mixing as the end of civilization.
Late Friday night, after a day of widespread news coverage, the ad had
more than 8,400 thumbs-up votes on YouTube, versus about 900

I didn’t take any of it personally, though my family’s morning
breakfast ritual – black mom, white dad, son who is a mix of both of us –
looks a lot like the ad if you subtract the general cheeriness before
we get that first cup of coffee down.

The point is, it’s no big deal. Richard and Mildred Loving
didn’t intend to start a legal case that made to the Supreme Court,
which in 1967 struck down the bans against interracial marriage that
still stood in 16 states. The white man and black woman from Virginia just wanted to get married and raise their family in their Virginia home.

The parents of Barack Obama married in one of the states where it was
legal – that’s Hawaii, not Kenya – and his extended family portrait
reflects the world.

[Justice Clarence Thomas, an African-American, is married to a white woman, Virgina "Ginny" Lamp.]

The 2010 U.S. Census
showed interracial or inter-ethnic opposite-sex married couple
households grew by 28 percent over the decade, from 7 percent in 2000 to
10 percent in 2010.

* * *

For its part, Cheerios has said the ad stands. Camille Gibson, vice
president of marketing for Cheerios, told Gawker, “Consumers have
responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there
are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”

In making this ad, Cheerios is just reflecting the new reality, and
might be gaining themselves many more customers than those inclined to
punish them – if those folks even ate the cereal to begin with. Just as
young people today think living in an America with a black first family
in the White House is simply the way it is, children who see a family
like their own on TV will hardly give the ad a second glance.

It's Cheerios for breakfaast!


  1. This is disgusting, but sadly, endemic on Youtube.

    Heck, a video of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn will bring out the haters, the racists, the trolls and the other kinds of assholes making the Internet a crappy place because they can, for the lulz.

    But yeah, Cheerios for me too!