Remember the man who was accused of kidnapping his own children because they didn’t look like him? Well, Meagan Hatcher-Mays writes on Jezebel that she had to deal with similar experiences growing up with a white father and black mother. And for her, the new Cheerios ads depicting a black and white couple and a biracial daughter is more than just 20 seconds of pitching cereal; it’s validation.
This commercial is a huge step for interracial families like mine who want to be seen in public together and maybe eat some heart-healthy snacks. But it also validates the existence of biracial and multiracial people. Often we’re treated like exotic flowers, who should feel complimented when people say stuff to us like, “All biracial women are so beautiful” or “I would kill for your skin.” One of the hardest things about growing up the way I did is feeling like you need to choose one racial identity over another just to fit in. The fact that strangers constantly ask you to identify yourself (forcing you to put yourself in a category) makes you feel conspicuous and gazed upon. You catch strangers looking at you. You know what they want to ask you. You know that they won’t leave you alone until you give them a rundown of your heritage.
So, this is just a stupid commercial about Cheerios but it means a lot to me. It shows interracial families and their children being normal and cute, not something to gawk at or to question. Hopefully this commercial will lead to even more positive representations of not just interracial families, but all kinds of non-traditional families. To Cheerios, I give you one internet high-five, for doing your part to normalize families like mine and people like me. Increased visibility of our differences leads to things like “acceptance” and “disrupting the status quo” and also “not arresting biracial people’s dads for kidnapping.”
Read Meagan Hatcher-Mays’ entire piece at Jezebel.
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