My biracial family: A response to the hate sparked by Cheerios ad

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Biracial family in controversial Cheerios ad

Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, but I was hoping we were past all this. Who would have thought that a wake up call that racism is alive and well in America would come in the form of a Cheerios ad? Watch this:

My own daughter is biracial, and I have to say that it’s so refreshing to see a young, beautiful, clearly biracial girl starring in a commercial with her Caucasian mom and African American dad. The ad is touching and sweet, and I have to admit that I wiped away a tear from my eye at the love the daughter shows her dad by the end.

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Still from controversial Cheerios Ad featuring biracial beauty

Yet the ad would hardly seem to be daring. In subject matter, it stands out, but it’s still similar to countless other touching commercials that have been created over the years. Yet the ad is groundbreaking when it comes to representing America as it truly is.

Diversity is finally becoming the norm in America. Minorities are becoming the majority, and biracial families are more common than ever. I know because I am in one. My husband is Hispanic, Cuban to be specific, and I am Caucasian. We have a Chinese last name because his grandfather was a Chinese immigrant to Cuba. When I look around, I see more and more couples like me and my husband with beautiful children.

So why can’t people stand to see a biracial family portrayed on TV in 2013?

Even our president is biracial. Yet there is something about seeing a biracial family in a home setting — a couple with two different skin colors and their children — that sets off the haters. The reactions to the Cheerios commercial on Youtube were beyond disturbing. America has come a long way, but not far enough. If my own family had gone on TV, a real family, it breaks my heart to think that this kind of hatred easily could have been directed at us.

Apparently the bigots were educated enough to use “troglodyte” in a sentence, yet ignorant enough to hate the commercial’s little girl on the basis of her mixed race. In the comments (now disabled) there were references to Nazis and genocide. Seriously. In a comment thread for a Cheerios commercial.

Here was one sample comment: “More like single parent in the making. Black dad will dip out soon.”

Hard to believe. It shouldn’t even matter that the couple in the commercial is interracial. The ad is not a “publicity stunt” on the part of Cheerios. They are simply portraying their customers, people like my biracial family.

I really want my daughter to grow up in a wonderful world that will embrace her for who she is, regardless of appearance and racial background. I truly believe that our society is more accepting and tolerant. Yet I need to face the reality that as she grows I’ll need to prepare her for a world that can still be vicious and hateful, as seen through anonymous Internet comment threads this past week.

I sincerely hope that Cheerios won’t back down. We need more commercials, media, and movies that reflect who we are as a society, and who we are becoming.

Biracial families are real families, we are loving, and we are normal.

Don’t hate us, because we are beautiful.

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  1. Chelesa sims says

    Thank you for posting this coming from another mother with biracial children. Iam so proud of them.your daughter is beautiful.

  2. Barbara says

    Thank you, Lauren. As the proud mom of 2 beautiful, multiracial (dad is Brazilian and dark-skinned) girls, I cannot stand this kind of thinking. From an early age on, both my daughters were made aware of their “different” (= from purely caucasian) skin at daycare. Kids are innocent and blunt. My kids came back home numerous times, claiming that they were “brown” and saying it like it was not a good thing. I gladly contributed (twice) the book “We are all the same, we are all different” to the daycares’ libraries. In this book, all the Sesame Street muppets are represented in a colorful, rainbow like spread of skin/fur colors, yet they all have 2 eyes, 1 nose, etc. The kids have been very responsive to it…

    • says

      Hi Barbara: I am so sorry to hear that your kids had to go through that. Children can be cruel, but what bothers me so much is that adults can be even crueler. What bothers me is that so many think that Cheerios is pushing some kind of multi-cultural agenda. These individuals seem to think that it’s much better for biracial families to be invisible, neither seen nor heard. I’m very happy that a gay couple can be represented with an adopted daughter of a different race in “Modern Family.” But my question is, why can’t an interracial couple with a biracial daughter also be represented without a flurry of hate comments?
      LIChiong recently posted..Family needs your help after Moore Oklahoma tornadoMy Profile

  3. says

    I can completely understand where your coming from. My husband is also Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and I am white. We have 5 beautiful bi-racial children. It is becoming a common thing to see multi race families in America. I know several inter racial or inner race couples with children and I just think that bi-racial children are just that more special.
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  4. says

    Thank you!!! This is so right on. All my nieces and nephews on both my side and Ben’s are bi-racial. It’s absurd in this day to think that this will be anything but more and more normal. And I always wondered why you guys had a Chinese last name! LOL!!!

  5. md kennedy says

    I simply don’t understand the negative responses at all, nor the big deal. I saw this ad for the first time just an hour ago, and I thought to myself that it is freaking about time they showed real families on ads. My half-brother is bi-racial (Japanese=Irish) and this has NEVER been an issue with anyone we know, or care about. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say anything about his mixed-race heritage, and he is equally proud of both.

  6. says

    I am sick & tired of hearing about race. No matter what any company does “you people” are never happy. My great grandmother was cherokee indian & look how they were treated. If you don’t like America, get the hell out!

    • says

      Dawn: I’m actually very happy with what Cheerios did. I wish that a conversation hadn’t been necessary about a commercial that portrays a biracial family, because by now it should be represented on a regular basis. It shouldn’t have to be seen as something that’s remarkable. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and a heated debate has transpired.

      For better or worse, people had a lot to say about it, and whether I agree with them, or you, or not, they had the freedom to say it, I have no plans to “get the hell out.” (In fact, I might even run for office someday.)

      If race had never been discussed then slavery would have never been outlawed, and the Civil Rights movement never would have happened. Interracial marriage wouldn’t have been officially legalized in 1967. I hope that race will always remain at the forefront of our national dialogue. No one who wants to discuss it should be bullied into silence or told to “get the hell out.”

      I sincerely want my blog to be a place where people can come together and enjoy reading about different topics regardless of political beliefs. If you are tired of hearing about race, then best turn off the TV or stop reading and commenting on blog posts such as this one.

      This is my blog. It’s a free country, and I’m going to say what I need to say.
      LIChiong recently posted..SNL’s Bill Hader TCM Essentials Jr.: Introduce kids to classic films!My Profile

  7. Michael Barnett says

    The visceral reactions to this ad are NOT surprising at all. The negative reaction to interracial couples, ESPECIALLY black male-white female couples, harkens back to the 1600’s in North America. That’s one reason for the phasing out of indentured servitude for slavery being race-based, particularly African. Indentured servants and black slaves began hanging out together, because of the similarity of their circumstances. Post Civil War, miscegenation was the main fear among southern whites, as well as some northerners. The KKK has always espoused the “protection of white womanhood,” especially from the so-called “black brute.” My best friend has been interracially married for over 2 decades and he has 3 gorgeous, intelligent, and motivated kids. They’re not mongrels or “confused.” They’re great people who are leaders in they’re neighborhood and schools. Quoting MLK, we have come a long way, but as these racist comments reflect, we STILL have a long way to go. Twenty years ago, no company would’ve dreamed of airing a commercial like that. But even in the 21st century racial, gender, religious, and orientation hatred is passed down from one generation to another. Grow up, America!

  8. Amy N. says

    It’s simply ridiculous that anyone would still be making a huge deal out of this in this day and age!! I had hoped my children wouldn’t have to even know what racism is! People are PEOPLE. Humans. Inside and out!!!

  9. says

    That’s so sad :( I somehow missed all the controversy but, as I watched the video and told my daughter that some said mean remarks about the family being of two races, she said, “That’s bad. I’m two races…and that’s more normal”. Hehe, kids. We’ve taught our daughter that it’s a good thing and helps our family have the best of two worlds. I’m glad you shared such a touching way of responding to such hateful comments.
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  10. says

    That’s disgusting that people would make comments like that, but not unsurprising. There still is a lot of racism today, and it’s coming from many different races, not just caucasians.

    Good for Cheerios! I’m always complaining that commercials never show biracial couples, which is completely relevant. I know many, many biracial and multiracial families, especially in my immediate circle of family and close friends. My son is biracial- half Filipino, half white. It makes me angry to think people might one day view him as inferior, because of it.
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  11. says

    I appreciated this post and have shared it. Our family is multiracial – my husband’s mother was from the Dominican Republic (so African and Spanish) and his father was biracial (in fact his parents were both biracial and French Canadian) and I am Caucasian, so our children are very mixed and wonderful and beautiful. I love being an example of what love without boundaries looks like. I agree that it would be great if there were more families like ours in film and television. My husband and I are independent filmmakers and seek to make films that reflect the world as it is. One of our films featured a biracial couple and our trailer also received nasty comments on Youtube. So many, that we disabled comments, particularly since there was a 9 year-old biracial girl in the film that most of the comments were directed at and we did not want her or her family to read them.
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  12. Tina says

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I absolutely hate racism and teach my son the same thing because we are all after all human beings with thoughts, feelings and emotions so what if there are people with different colored skin the world would be so boring if we all looked the same. I too hope that Cheerios does not back down because they did nothing wrong. We need more commercials, ads etc. like this. It is so a shame that in this day and age there are so many ignorant and small minded people. Thank you for sharing this!!

  13. Cassandra Huber says

    Why can’t people realize that families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc.? That’s the beauty of life! I still cannot figure out how people actually cared so much about what race the family is. Who the heck actually NOTICES these things when watching TV? I see the commercial, I see an adorable little girl and 2 loving parents, how do people take such an innocent commercial out of context so quickly?

  14. Sheryl Pescor says

    When I first saw the Cheerios commercial I never even realized that the couple was bi-racial. All I saw was an adorable little girl talking to her mother, then the Daddy waking up with the Cheerio’s on his heart. It wasn’t until the big uproar that I came to know that it was a Bi-racial family. So much hatred still. In today’s society it is shameful. We are all the same. We need to stop and love each other. How much better we would all be if we did.

  15. Dalores says

    I didn’t even think about the family being bi-racial when I saw the commercial. My family is bi-racial too and it shouldn’t cause hate.

  16. Matt H. says

    The comments that were made about the commercial were terrible, but I don’t think it is an accurate indicator of people’s feelings of biracial families, or of anything at all for that matter. When there is a storm of comments like this it is usually just a bunch of trolls (Internet troublemakers) looking to upset, offend, alarm, or infuriate people. They want people to react, and they got what they wanted with blog posts and news reports like these. Oftentimes these swarms of comments are calculated, organized efforts on troll sites and message boards. Believe it or not, even minorities participate. I generally don’t think it indicates that the posters are racist per se (although I’m sure many of them are), just that they are simply bored, immature assholes. Others like the absurdity of using a Cheerios ad as a platform for espousing racist ideologies, not the ideologies themselves.

    I used to participate in similar “raids” (though my comments weren’t quite as vile as these) until I got an idea of the hurt I was causing people, but I was never truly racist. Quite ironically, I am member of/donator to the ACLU, NAACP, SPLC, etc.

    This isn’t meant to excuse the behavior written about here, I just wanted to shed some light on the mentality that was most likely behind it.

  17. Janine says

    Amen…being a Caucasian married to a Latino with a bi-racial child…although we are lucky that it seems to be more accepted in Southern California!!! :-)

  18. Rosie says

    your daughter is so cute! I have a relative in a bi-racial marriage, and I’m fine with it. I didn’t see this commercial!

  19. Valerie Carpenter says

    I couldn’t get over all the negative feedback on a Cheerios commerical. I watched it, like you, and thought it was a very touching and cute commerical. We have little cousins that visit our house alot who are from a biracial family-but, to us, they are just family (no labels). Your family is beautiful as are these two girls who come and hang out in our pool.

  20. Georgia Beckman says

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s hard to believe that while living in AMERICA, in the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY, we are still dealing with these issues. I am 48 years old & I still cringe when my mother talks about how “sorry” she feels for a bi-racial child because of their heritage. What? You’re sorry this child is a human being? You’re sorry the child is being raised by loving parents? I think Cheerios should take it a step further & ONLY produce bi-racial commercials for a while & I wish some others would follow. I would hate for someone to feel sorry for me or look at me as an outcast because I am 48, overweight, really pale, have straight hair, go to church. People need to crawl out from under their bedrocks & appreciate life.

  21. Ruth chu says

    My family is a biracial family. In my community growing up i was the odd one out i hung out with people who looked different them me but had way better hearts then my Caucasian counter parts.In high school i was the only person beside the teacher that was there with the other kids. I love other cultures learning by them and all. My kids are half Chinese and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was happy to see the commercial and was hoping this was a step in the right direction. most Caucasians are not just one thing they are English and German or Indian and Irish. Myself well i am a mut in my own right I have 9 different cultures in me including Mexican Indian and Black. Most of the traits most can not see. So I say show American for who we truly are we are no longer separated by racial lines. For those who don’t like it don’t look sheesh.

  22. lisa says

    I’ve seen the commercial and thought nothing of it. It’s just a family eating breakfast. Some people are always going to be nasty. People are people and I was unaware of any controversy until I read this.

  23. says

    I can completely understand where your coming from. My husband is also Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and I am white. We have 5 beautiful bi-racial children. It is becoming a common thing to see multi race families in America. I know several inter racial or inner race couples with children and I just think that bi-racial children are just that more special.

  24. says

    I immediately noticed when I saw the commercial. Actually i couldn’t wait to watch it again cause I didn’t believe it! I saw again and it was true. In myself I thought well at least from a marketing perspective, we are coming along. It’s a good thing to have the different racial and family dynamics expressed. And you know, if it’s in an advertisement, that means there is a significant about. Good for Cheerios.
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