Last week I saw the new Cheerios commercial on TV for the first time. I was doing my usual living room work out when it came on. I stopped what I was doing and was fixated on the TV. It was the first commercial I had seen that featured an interracial, black and white, couple and their biracial daughter. I guess it was the first time I had seen a family that looks like my own.
Here’s a little back story on my relationship. My husband and I have been together since 2008. We got married in 2012 and it was the best day of my life. Up until our decision to get married we had a lot to think about. I had dated black men before but I was the first white woman he had dated. Although there are many inter racial couples in America today, there are still so many obstacles that we have to overcome. During our years together, my husband and I have experienced a few racist encounters. Unlike myself, he is never surprised by them. He grew up in a town where he experienced quite a bit of racism as a younger boy. I grew up in a town that was very diverse and I really didn’t see much racism around me. When I met my husband, I was intrigued by his intelligence and his world view. It was much different from mine and it continues to be. We debate on the issue of racism often and our views are very different. Although we are only one year apart in age, we grew up within 30 minutes of each other and we come from families with pretty much the same values, we have experienced completely different situations when it comes to race.
When we got together he was a bit hesitant when it came to being around my family. Once he got to know the amazing people that are related to me, his tension was eased. His hesitation was expected and I understood that I could never fully understand what he was feeling going into certain situations. We grew up looking at society through different eyes. He was treated much differently by the people he grew up around. Those circumstances have made him the man he is today and although I hear stories and I cringe and become angry at the ignorance of some, I am thankful for all he will be able to teach our future children about tolerance and understanding.
When people go out of their way to make sure we hear what they think about us being together, I am always shocked and deeply hurt. But my husband is not. He isn’t surprised by the way people react. Although it is 2013, so much of what this country has fought against is still very much here.
We are hard working people. We have a successful life together and both of us work hard to better the lives of others. We are hoping for a family of our own and I can only pray that society will treat our family and our children with the respect that we deserve. Our children will grow up to be productive citizens and I hope that their skin will not be a defining factor of how they are treated. I fear for our children’s social interactions with other kids who have parents who do not agree with the choice we have made. I fell in love with a man because of his heart, mind and personality. His beautiful dark skin was not a defining factor of what I was looking for in a life partner.
I understand that not all people agree with interracial marriages and the choice to have biracial children. I respect those opinions but I want to be respected in return. I want to be able to live my life without being hurt by the words of hateful people. I would love for the stereotypes of white women and black men to be changed. I hope that my children do not come home from school crying because they come from a white mom and black dad.
Now back to the Cheerios commercial… This commercial made my heart happy. I thought it was a beautiful way to show an interracial family eating cheerios and talking about the benefits for heart health just like the families of previous commercials. Then I hear that there has been a racial backlash because of Cheerio’s decision to run this ad. On YouTube the commercial received such hateful racist comments that they had to disable the comment section. I was appalled by what I read and again I was shocked that this kind of thing was happening in 2013. The way people felt about the family in the commercial is the way they feel about my husband and I. And while I do not know these people I was still incredibly saddened by their reactions. I don’t understand why a family made up of different colors has to be treated any differently from families made up of the same color. If love, respect and hard work are built into the lives of interracial families why do others feel the need to put them down?
I want to thank Cheerios for their decision to run this ad. I thank them for standing behind the ad even in the face of horrible ridicule. This commercial means a lot to many people and I hope that America soon excepts the fact that not all families look alike.
I have explained how my husband and I see things differently so I will be sharing his point of view on this topic tomorrow… Stay tuned.
I would love to hear other’s thoughts on this commercial and the uproar it has created.
Here is the link to the commercial on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw