Cheerios & Change

When I first saw the Cheerios commercial a few weeks ago, I immediately jumped off my couch and almost grabbed a napkin as my eyes started to tear, but why? Maybe it was because this was one of the first times America has seen an interracial family in a commercial during a nationally televised event. Most of you have seen the commercial and if you haven’t, check it out above. The reactions to the commercials have been from one extreme to the other – from enthusiastic and elated to downright racist.

This Cheerios commercial should be one of, soon-to-be, many commercials and advertisements that feature families of different races, ethnicities and/or religious backgrounds. I believe we should embrace this changing America. We do not know if Cheerios intended to bring recognition or attention to this change in America’s population, but it did and the response has been explosive.

As a child of a biracial family, I was particularly interested in the commercial. I was intimately inspired by the images of what an interracial marriage could look like in America. As a person of color in the US, you are hyper self-aware of who you are and how others might perceive you. It also makes me feel like my parents’ marriage, among others, is being celebrated.

In major cities across the US, more cities are becoming major cities of color. Thirty years down the road, there will be more people of color and people of non-White background, than Whites in the United States. Further, according to the 2008 Census 15% (technically 14.6%) of new marriages in the US are interracial. Companies and advertisers are becoming more conscious of these changing demographics. Families want to see families that look like them on television, advertisements and elsewhere.

Progressive Pupil makes Black studies for everyone, and I take that as meaning it is important for everyone to understand that Black studies encompasses the many shades of being Black in America today, and to be Black is to understand the different variations/shades/ ethnicities that make up the Black box. In addition, it is important that we, as scholars, students and artists, reflect on the future of being Black in America. We should understand where the future of our country is headed and how the Black population is growing. The Cheerios commercials show that interracial families are just like any other family and we should advertise them as such. It is a beautiful reflection of a family like mine and it makes me greatly appreciate the different types of families we have in America today.

By Jessica Baylor

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