A lot has already been said about people’s reactions to that new television ad from Cheerios, the one featuring an interracial couple and their painfully cute little girl. Most of it can be summed up as follows:
One: Emboldened by the delicious anonymity of comment sections everywhere, the world’s racists and the web’s trolls seem determined to ruin the post-racial America we’ve all been finger-crossing for since Grey’s Anatomy first aired and that nice young couple moved into the White House. It’s annoying, disheartening, gross.
Two: Rather than tempt fate—a word which here means the fast-typing fingers of a vocal and (can we just say it?) vile minority—most advertisers, even the progressive and fair-minded ones, will continue to make ads that aren’t quite what you’d call culturally au courant. And in the age of the socially conscious consumer, where being nicely neutral isn’t good enough anymore and apps like Buycott make it easier than ever to ensure what what we buy lines up with what we believe, that’s not just a shame. It’s short-sighted.
And three: Seriously, that girl is dangerously cute.
Last year, Pew Research Center calculated that 15% of all new marriages in the U.S. are between people of different ethnicities. That’s more than double the number in 1980. But in thirty-some years of flipping channels and watching ads, I’ve only ever seen two commercials featuring a family who looked anything like mine. Two.
The second one had me buying a box of Cheerios.