I am sure by now many of you have seen or heard of the new Cheerios’ ad featuring an interracial family. If you haven’t, here is the ad. Click on the photo to view:
It is not surprising that such venom was directed towards General Mills, Inc. America never has owned up to her racist mistreatment of her Black citizens and the vitriol that has been spewed forth over the humanity of Black Americans has had over 400 years to cement itself in this country.
Charles Malik Whitfield, the actor who portrays the father/husband in the ad, spoke to ABC News about his involvement in the commercial.
“Let’s not pretend racism doesn’t exist. Let’s not pretend that we’ve come so far,” he said. “Let’s be conscious of and appreciate the noise, and the negativity, because there’s so much work to be done.”
The fictitious family sent a lot of racists into the stratosphere. The anger and teeth gnashing is obviously not confined to just the real world when a fictitious IR family can cause such a savage reaction. Even a cereal company like General Mills can feel the negative backlash against its most popular product, as seen by the rabid comments left on its website, so much so that it produced enough vitriol on YouTube last week that Cheerios requested the comments section be turned off.
I wonder what the response would have been if the ad featured a White husband/father, Black mother/wife, and a little girl child?
America has great denial of her mistreatment of her Black citizens. America has tremendous denial of her cruelty towards her Black citizens. This amnesia to cut out, starve out, beat out, burn out, lynch out of this nation’s history towards her Black citizens is as old as cherry pie.
The Tea Party has chanted it loud and often enough: “Let’s take back our country!” is the oft repeated slogan, to go back to a time when the lives, needs, and rights of Black citizens could be shut out of the minds of so many racists who refused then, and now, to accept that there have always been Black people at the very early beginnings of this land before it became the United States of America.
Companies like General Mills, unlike movie studios, cable, and some shows on broadcast TV, are a daily part of many people’s lives. Products such as Cheerios are seen, purchased, and eaten by many racists—just like everyone else—and these products may even have become a type of representative of a food reserved only for those not Black, in so many racists minds that it is anathema to them to show anyone other than a White family partaking in the consumption of the low cholesterol cereal.
Unlike movies (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”), or TV shows (i.e., “Scandal”), commercials for products like Cheerios can only reach millions of people in America. Yes, commercials, unlike movies, do not have “legs” to go around the world and be seen by millions who do not live in the United States, but, commercials still have much sway in the nation where they are most likely to be seen. Products like Cheerios have become in the minds of many racists a status quo product, and are seen as the property of whiteness, and not to be shared with anyone not fitting into the white habitus that has become deeply embedded into the social fabric of this country’s denied history.
But, such is life in the good ‘ol USA.
Per Mr. Whitfield: “Let’s not pretend racism doesn’t exist”.
Let’s not pretend.
For all the lies and myths that America has shouted to the rest of the world that she is “the home of the brave, the land of the free”—that is exactly what she has not been.
America never was, and still is not, the land of the free or the home of the brave.
Such a visceral reaction to this commercial would never have occurred in Europe. There, such commercial/ads are as common as, well, humans getting together since the dawn of time for humanity:
Not that Europe is a bastion of 100% equality; but, in comparision to the United Staes of America, it is light-years ahead in accepting that all humans the world over want the same thing: a decent life; safety for their loved ones; and respect for their humanity.
One would think that after over 400 years of Black people living in America that it should now be in 2013 USA: “Well, ya’ know what, Blacks are no different from any other group of hard-working citizens”.
Strange as it may sound, I bet General Mills’ sales on Cheerios will go up more. That this cereal giant stepped out and made this commercial is something that would not have been seen in 1967.
But, one would be dead wrong, as the insane responses to this commercial concludes.