Cheerios' Commercial Featuring an Interracial Family Takes Some Hits

It's tough to escape backlash on the web these days. After months of controversy about the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the cereal, Cheerios produced a commercial featuring an interracial family. The feedback is mostly positive, but racist comments caused General Mills to cull its Facebook page.

How could such a cute, little girl cause so much controversy? Advocates applaud the company's example of biracial families as typical families. As one writer says

"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. But it also validates the existence of biracial and multiracial people. Often we're treated like exotic flowers, who should feel complimented when people say stuff to us like, 'All biracial women are so beautiful' or 'I would kill for your skin.' One of the hardest things about growing up the way I did is feeling like you need to choose one racial identity over another just to fit in. . . .

"So, this is just a stupid commercial about Cheerios but it means a lot to me. It shows interracial families and their children being normal and cute, not something to gawk at or to question. Hopefully this commercial will lead to even more positive representations of not just interracial families, but all kinds of non-traditional families."

But others find the commercial offensive for a variety of uninteresting reasons. Debate on Reddit has some calling posters bigots and-my favorite-subreddits.

Cheerios issued this brief statement to Gawker:

"Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all."

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of the commercial? Do you find it offensive in some way?
  • What's Cheerios' rationale for the ad? Am I too cynical to suspect that the brand is trying to deflect attention away from the GMO controversy?