Cheerios commercial showing mixed family comes with nuts

05/31/2013 4:20 PM

06/13/2013 10:25 AM

When Cheerios posted a commercial online this week, the point wasn’t to make a social or political statement.

It’s a sweet ad about a little girl trying to understand how the cereal helps the heart. Her mom tells her it lowers cholesterol. So the little girl pours Cheerios on her dad’s chest, right over his heart.

I’ll admit I get the warm and fuzzies from family-friendly commercials, like the AT kids roundtable and the E*Trade babies. But I was especially happy to see Cheerios portray an everyday family that just happened to look like my own as a kid: white mom, black dad, mixed daughter.

A mixed family on TV shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s 2013. We have a biracial president. We’re decades past Loving vs. Virginia, the case that legalized interracial marriage. But the backlash against the commercial (

youtube.com/cheerios

) was so swift and sour, that by Thursday the comments section on YouTube had to close.

One troll online said the mother was a single mom in the making. Another said mixed families are weird. And on the Cheerios Facebook page, a commenter said he would never eat the cereal again and called the company “dirt swillers.” What?

Thankfully, Cheerios isn’t backing down. Camille Gibson, the brand’s vice president of marketing, told 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.”

Maybe if more TV people thought like Cheerios, the reactions wouldn’t have been so beastly. How many interracial families do you see in movies and on prime time? Multicultural casts are huge — but interracial families aren’t as common on screen as they are in my life.