Interracial families in the media anger audiences

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A 2013 Cheerios ad that sparked controversy for featuring an interracial family was aired again during the 2014 Super Bowl. (Courtesy of US Weekly)

The Super Bowl may have already passed, but the impact of a particular commercial is still creating a buzz all over social media. A Cheerios commercial aired featuring an interracial couple and their biracial child. Apparently, some audiences just were not ready to face the reality of a mixed race family.

However, a recent video floating around Facebook caught my attention.

The video made by The Fine Bros., a popular channel on YouTube that features videos of children reacting to viral videos, has over 7 million views and shows a group of children on their “Kids React” series sharing their thoughts on the same family in another Cheerios commercial from almost a year ago. In the beginning, the interviewers ask the children what they think of the commercial.

“That’s it? It’s just a Cheerios commercial,” said the first young boy about what he saw.

The children’s initial reaction is heartwarming yet saddening, because it is evident that their innocence has not yet been scarred by society’s everlasting discussion of race.

They are asked if they know why there are so many people angry about the commercial, and they are all confused. When they are told that it is because the mom is white and the dad is black, it brings one little girl to tears.

“Sometimes in TV it’s unrealistic,” she said. “In real life there’s families of all races.”

This little girl is absolutely correct. Too many commercials feature all white families or all black families, which is an impractical representation of the world we live in. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 2.9 percent of the population self-identifies as multiracial. Yes, that is more than 9 million people identified as being of more than one race.

My question: Why is this an important discussion?

It shouldn’t be. The beauty of diversity is not something that should be mocked
or condemned.

Rather, there should be a discussion of why it is even necessary to categorize yourself by race on standardized tests, job applications and other documents. With the constant increase in ethnic variety a person will not be able identify with just one race. Acceptance is not just a choice anymore. Pretty soon, it will be the only option people have.

Williamson is a sophomore majoring in journalism.

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