May 30, 2013

The One With The Bi-Racial, Cheerios Loving Interacial Parents Having Girl

So Cheerios released a new video online called "Just Checking".  And it's adorable.  I'm on record as not really being too fond of children or "Cutesy" nonsense.  This though, it gets a pass. However I'm mistaken, I suppose, because there are people outraged, OUTRAGED I tell you, over this commercial. Check it out below, and then I'll explain why this is apparently a terrible horrible no good very bad commercial:

So.  Yeah.  That was obviously ...wait, what was wrong with that again?

Oh, yeah.  It features an interracial couple in a presumably loving committed relationship, and the impossibly adorable offspring of said interracial couple.   That apparently is a no no, even in 2013.

This is a strange situation, in my mind.  This is one of those things where you see people get outraged over it and you just wonder why.  Why would this offend people?  I mean, I realize there are racists out there so it's not like I'm blissfully naive to how the world works.  And I even know a few, even though that doesn't help me understand their mental makeup any better.

And I also understand the way the internet works.  People who may not have the stones to say something when their actual names are attached, are more than willing to set up a throwaway email address, get a youtube account and just start spamming with racist slurs and whatnot since no one knows who they are and they won't get any blowback for it.

However this is not just an internet problem, and anyone who suggests it is is sadly mistaken.  In Virginia, where I was born and raised before moving the hell up outta there, a man was accused of kidnapping his kids because the father is white and the kids were not.  A Wal-mart customer saw the white father with his two bi-racial daughters and said, and I quote, "they (the father and daughters) don't match up."


A Virginia father's trip to Walmart last week took an unexpected turn when he was accused of kidnapping his three young daughters because their skin color did not match his. Joseph, a white father in an interracial marriage who does not want his family name revealed, has three daughters, a 4-year-old and 2-year-old twins.

According to Fox News in DC, Joseph took them to Walmart in Potomac Mills in Woolbridge to cash a check, then was "shocked" to find a Prince William County police officer waiting for them at home.

"He asks us very sincerely, ‘Hey, I was sent here by Walmart security. I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own,’” Joseph told Fox. 


Joseph told Fox an officer explained that a Walmart security guard  "reported seeing him in the parking lot with the girls and thought it was strange." After the cop left, Keana called Walmart and was transferred to a Walmart security officer who blamed a customer for the incredibly false alarm. 

Keana says the security officer told her, "Well, the customer was concerned because they saw the children with your husband and he didn't think that they fit. And I said, ‘What do you mean by they don't fit?’ And I was trying to get her to say it. And she says, ‘Well, they just don't match up.’”

Mind you this is 46 years after Loving vs. Virginia, a landmark case that overturned the abhorrently titled "Racial Integrity Act of 1924" which banned marriage by people of different races. That case was brought about after Mildred Loving (who was Black) and Richard Loving (who was White) were put in prison for a year after getting married.  The Supreme Court ruling wiped out all race based laws that dealt with marriage.  And yet, this is happening in the very same state.

So while "The Internet's the Internet" is always going to be used as an excuse to give a pass towards racist, homophobic, misogynistic and other types of despicable behavior, it's clear that this isn't simply a problem on the internet where anonymous trolls gin up dissension.

46 years after it took a Supreme Court decision to eliminate prison sentences for interracial couples, we still have instances where "it doesn't match up" to have a parent with children of another race.  Where apparently an unbelievably adorable commercial by Cheerios is attacked with so much hatred and venom that Cheerios actually shut the comments down on the video.

I think that what makes this so problematic to me is that if you look at television, there's so many instances now of interracial couples.  The first two off the top of my head are Olivia Pope and the President on ABC's Scandal, and Birkoff and Sonya on Nikita, although there are many more in TV series as well as movies.

However commercials has really lagged behind in promoting reality.  Similarly you see plenty of gay characters in TV's and Movies, but how many commercials are there that feature gay couples?  The number is small enough that you know whenever one shows up by the outrage that is flooding the internet.

Well I say good on Cheerios for having the moral character to step up and present a commercial that features a realistic snapshot of the country.  There are many interracial couples out there in this nation, and it's about time that reality is reflected in this country's advertising.

Oh and kudos to the actress playing the mother in that commercial who came out on twitter proudly supporting it.

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