Yesterday I shared my views and reaction to the new Cheerio’s commercial involving an interracial couple and their biracial daughter. I said that I would post my husband’s reaction, so here it is.
My first reaction to the backlash towards the Cheerios commercial that has become a topic of race discussion was, “that’s to be expected.” If you’ve been on You Tube for any fair amount of time, you’ve seen people cowardly hiding behind their keyboards shouting out racial slurs in ALL CAPS. And even if I hadn’t seen “comment racism” before, I wouldn’t be shocked by the insensitive statements of the cereal AD’s critics.
Growing up in Southern California, a land of cultural diversity, one would expect racism to exist at lesser levels than some of the more mono-colored areas of the nation. In my experience, this was not the case. I’ve had my fair share of racist incidences: being called nigger, objects thrown at me, people not wanting to sit next to me in class, slurs spray painted on my property, etc. And I’m no saint; I’ve had reservations and made stereotypical judgments about other races too. However, as I’ve matured and met so many amazing people from a variety of ethnicities, I’ve learned to accept all races as equal.
When I first started dating my wife, I knew she was a person that I could spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t have any time to think about the complications of an interracial relationship or the disdain our relationship would cause others. I was too busy being happy and my love for her trumped my fear of the problems we would inevitably face. And it still does. I don’t worry about my family being ridiculed like the one in the commercial because I’ve learned from my relationship that love conquers fear and the hate of others.
My relationship with my wife and my relationship with my assorted colors of friends has built by worldview of racial equality. But I’m not naive, and I understand that many people haven’t experienced what I have and haven’t come to the same life conclusions. Racism is alive and well, according to this definition: “believing another race to be inferior to yours.”
I’ve had several people come to me with the argument that the amount of racist people have declined and that race relations are much better than they were in the 20th century. I always disagree and moments like the Cheerio Commercial prove me to be correct. The only difference between today and the racism of America’s past is that those who are racist are no longer in power. They no longer have political backing. They still exist and racism still exists. There is still this subtle sentiment of racial superiority among some whites and a battle for superiority by some blacks that cause innocent commercials to become hot-button issues.
This sentiment of inequality is not on the forefront like it was pre 1950s, giving a facade that race relations are MUCH better in the 21st century. Racial inequality is an ingrained characteristic of this nation’s founding (blacks being considered 2/3 of a person is the epitome of racism), and has become an undertone instead of an overtone because people, black, white and misc., cover their racism with tolerance. Tolerance masks racism, it doesn’t absolve it. I think many have yet to accept that other races are truly equal to theirs in all aspects of life.
When events like the Cheerio commercial happen that people cannot bear to tolerate, racism shines through. Being an African American man married to a white woman, I pray for people to have enough love and decency to at least tolerate our relationship. I don’t expect that people 100% accept it and I don’t expect people to not hate it. I just expect that they stomach it and let us live our lives.
The Palestinians and Israelites have been at war for thousands of years. We cannot expect the tension between blacks and whites to magically dissolve in less than 100 years. Maybe this viewpoint is pessimistic, but this realism is what keeps me from getting heartbroken from reading vicious YouTube comments.
Here is the link to the commercial on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw
By: Mr. Prince