Last week, Cheerios released a relatively unassuming commercial that features an interracial family. At first glance there’s nothing particularly special about the ad which is typically sweet and centers on an adorably cute little girl showing concern for her father’s health.
Yet much like the JCPenney catalog ads that featured gay families, the Cheerios spot is another step forward in showcasing diverse families in advertising. Diversity that represents a population that is multicultural, multiethnic and gay, straight and bisexual.
“This commercial is a huge step for interracial families like mine who want to be seen in public together and maybe eat some heart-healthy snacks,” writes Meagan Hatcher-Mays in a post for Jezebel. “But it also validates the existence of biracial and multiracial people.”
Unfortunately, Hatcher-Mays was writing the post in response to all the racist reactions to the video forcing Cheerios to disable the comments on YouTube. The reaction prompted discussions on all ends of the spectrum. Was Cheerios pandering to get attention? Are people generally just bigoted? Are interracial families being marginalized like gay families have been in the past? The real uproar should have been over the waste of a whole box of cereal — food isn’t free!
At the end of the day, Hatcher-Mays, like most of the LGBT community, just wants her family to be considered a normal part of society. Not one that gets the cops called on them for going shopping. Not one that gets pointed at and stared at. (“Often we’re treated like exotic flowers,” she writes.)
And beyond that, we want to be seen in commercials and not have it be a big deal or garner the type of negative reaction the Cheerios ad did (or the exhaustive attention of One Million Moms). In fact, we want to see more commercials like the Cheerios ad, like the JCPenney ad. Ones that show progress and don’t make a big deal of diversity but rather showcases a real slice of life.
And like Hatcher-Mays, we, too, are giving Cheerios an internet high-five!