by DARIUS LEWIS Staff Writer
General Mills’ new Cheerios YouTube ad featuring a biracial family sparked vicious and racist comments.
It is 2013, and you would think that we as Americans would be over the “phenomenon” of multicultural families, especially considering they make up 10 percent of American families. However, when reading the venomous insults spewed all over the comments section of the Cheerios commercial, one begins to wonder if our societal mentality is still fixated on the past.
The actual ad itself is harmless: a little girl asks her mother if Cheerios is heart healthy, the (white) mother says yes, and the girl pours Cheerios all over her (black) dad’s chest over his heart while he sleeps. Thirty seconds in total.
So, why all the hate? After all, with our society becoming increasingly tolerant toward gays and other minorities, and interracial marriage steadily increasing every year, you would think the new generation of Americans would be more open-minded and not hold on to the tattered remnants of an outdated ideology.
However, that does not seem to be the case, as the comments section is infested with antipathetic remarks pertaining to Nazism and racial genocide, along with one YouTube user saying, “More like single parent in the making. Black dad will dip out soon.”
YouTube’s comment sections have garnered a reputation as a prolific breeding place for ignorance and bigotry. Scroll down to virtually any YouTube video comment section and I guarantee you will find at least one racial slur or one very inappropriate remark. While it is amazing that the internet allows anyone to voice their opinions and feel that they can be heard, it is also a double-edged sword. Minorities in particular are victimized on YouTube purely because of their ethnic background.
Andre Meadows, creator of the Black Nerd Comedy channel, says that “when you get comments, it seems to be targeted toward race almost immediately. A lot of people get ‘dumb video, stupid video’ — but with mine it immediately goes to racial slurs.”
Junior Mike Hodjkiss said, “I think rules should be put in place to monitor these comments.”
The power of anonymity the internet gives is extremely liberating to the darkest depths of the human psyche, as it allows us to show our true selves to the world without moral or social constraint.
Perhaps this knee-jerk aversion to the portrayal of a biracial family is also due to the fact that not many are shown in the mainstream media. The media, which includes magazines, movies, and television, is undoubtedly the most potent influence on our minds, and governs how we act and perceive other people. So when a group is underrepresented in the media, such as biracial families, our perception of that group will unfortunately be altered or tainted by stereotypes.
This is largely because television networks must produce and green light entertainment that can be marketed to a large group of people so they can make the most amount of money, which is why television shows seem to be dominated by middle class white families.
Junior Jordan Brennert said, “I think multiracial families are underrepresented, but I don’t think companies are doing it deliberately.”
Cable network CEOs are only looking out for the success of the television network; however, this usually results in the same show concepts being recycled over and over again. If they could only realize that making a show featuring a multicultural family would sustain a definite fan base, then maybe we could see some progress.
Things will only change if we as a people make them change, and that can only happen when we include all races and all kinds of people in the mainstream media.
What do you think of the Cheerios commercial and the backlash?