Gracie’s back for Superbowl Sunday and just in time for Black History Month! Gracie is the little girl in the Cheerios commercial who was at the centre of the racial debate last May. When General Mills featured an interracial family in their commercial, they were slammed by racist comments on their YouTube channel. Can you believe that in 2013, an ad like the Cheerios commercial received racial slurs on their YouTube channel? Last May, the haters did not have the last say, when their discrimination was met with support for the company’s strategy to show ALL types of families in their commercials. General Mills will debut their new commercial during the Superbowl, this Sunday and Gracie’s message is as cute as ever!
As a biracial family, we are very aware of the images in the media. I was even quoted in an article about the original Cheerios commercial controversy. Our boys often notice when a family has a black dad and white mom just like us! Our family is constantly confronted with issues of colour and difference, not as obstacles but as an open dialogue that helps our kids explore our own family, their heritage and background. We talk about the differences in the colour of our skin and how our boys are so lucky to have a beautiful combination of their mommy and daddy. Our boys have always embraced and accepted that our family may look different from others, but that we love each other just the same. I love that this Cheerios commercial reinforces this image in the media. It’s an image that is growing in acceptance, but still hard to find in the mainstream.
As open as our family is, I find that my son Jayden is still stuck on the notion that our white Barbie and our white Ken should be the ones to get married. While playing with the dolls, I recently suggested that our brown skinned female doll should marry the white Ken. He looked at me, as if I was crazy and told me that the white dolls should marry each other. How can this be? How can he still believe this in a family where his mom is white and his dad is black? Is it as simple as “matching” the colours or does it go deeper? Has he seen so many tv shows, books and movies where the white couple is married, that he also has started to believe that that is how it should be?
This dialogue will probably become an even bigger topic, as our boys become more independent and identify with different parts of who they are. As they also choose their mates, I’m sure we will also have more discussions on the ways in which love can overcome any social stereotypes. It will be during those times, that their dad and I will share stories of our own obstacles in our love story.
Thank you, Cheerios. Thank you for showing OUR family on TV, yet again. For standing up for diversity and celebrating difference. For not giving into the hatred and for reminding my sons and his friends, that it is not a matching skin colour that makes a family…it is love.
Want to see the newest commercial set to air this Sunday? I may actually watch the Super Bowl JUST to watch the newest Cheerios commercial!
We love Black History Month crafts and books that celebrate diversity!
(Photo: General Mills)