CHEERIOS FIGHTS CHOLESTEROL AND PREJUDICE - The popular breakfast cereal Cheerios, known for helping to fight cholesterol and being heart-healthy, has found themselves battling a different issue of the heart; prejudice.
Caught in the midst of controversy over the release of the commercial above, the company’s webpage and YouTube have been flooded with video responses from anyone with a camera trying to get some “air time” for their opinion of the commercial. I don’t watch very much television and was not even aware of the commercial, the controversy it has started or the backlash and multitude of videos created by it until today.
“This morning when I saw this ad on the view I watched it and I was wondering what the issue was with this ad. Then they said the mixed race was the issue I could not even believe it. That is very sad.” Reader Comment
I truly don’t understand why this commercial has so many people upset; when for at least the last few decades, Hollywood has created movies with biracial couples, television shows and countless other commercials have also portrayed happy and healthy relationships between men and women of different ethnic backgrounds, and the fact is, most of us are or know someone who is in a biracial relationship.
So why all the fuss?
It is the power of the internet, plain and simple. Anyone can make a comment, be disgusting, swear and reveal an evil nature filled with hate and ignorance all behind the mask of anonymity and it is unfortunate that YouTube and Facebook foster so much of this type of behavior. If you have not heard of this kind of malicious conduct before, I invite you to read:
A dear friend of mine has recently been hurt after setting up a page on the site ’ask.fm’ After registering on the site, it asks you a few easy going questions and then allows you to put yourself out into the realm of the internet for anyone to ask you anything. This young lady has received rude questions that invade her privacy, mock her role as a wife and mother and her very existence.
Is mankind really this cruel? I don’t want to believe so. What I do know is that we all have the capability to either be kind or hurtful every moment, in every circumstance and to every person we encounter. It is a choice we continually make.
Some people, for whatever reason, make the choice to be mean and the internet has become a “safe place” for them to let the evil out.
Evil does not always win and here is one example. Yesterday, we printed an article on Professor Mary Beard, who is a prominent historian and TV personality. She has been personally attacked through the internet for several years, by those who either do not agree with her opinions or are too ignorant to even understand the topic and therefore attack her for her passion. To see how she dealt with a recent attack, read:
Can we put an end to this type of behavior? No, but we don’t need to stand idly by and take it. General Mills, the company that produces Cheerios has disabled the comment section of their company page in response to the vile comments and in an effort to minimize the attention the trash talkers so desperately need.
They will not be pulling the ad from television. They stand by their commercial, their product and their customers along with the truth of the ad’s portrayal of the “New America” and have had support shown through comments, like the one below.
“I applaud General Mills for standing by this Cheerios ad. This should never have become an “issue.” It appalls me that there is so much hatred out there. Kudos for standing up to ignorance and bigotry!!!!” Reader Comment
In another effort to quell the controversy, a clever individual who goes by the name “kenji America” created the following Cheerios parody:
I have to admit, this made me laugh and smile; the idea of battling hate and ignorance with an even bigger “hate issue;” same-sex couples.
In this day and age, I am not surprised at the emotional outpouring this commercial created, but it does make me sad. Bigotry, prejudice, ignorance and fear have not been conquered. People talk about tolerance, emphasizing how much we need to let people live their lives however they want and with whomever they choose; despite what we may consider as right or wrong.
Tolerance is not the answer. Tolerance does not go far enough, it still allows for anger and hate to fester in the heart. Tolerance says, “I will smile at your face and talk about you behind your back.” It is given a voice on the internet.
As a society, we must go a step further and accept one another with all of our differences. Acceptance is the only answer. Until we come to the belief that all people are equal, deserve respect and understand that it is alright that we are different from one another, nothing can change.
General Mills may be in the midst of controversy, but the response this ad has gotten clearly shows that we are not as accepting of each other as many of us like to think. Let’s stop fooling ourselves and address the problem head on.
Let me stop you before you start thinking that this is a ‘white person’s’ problem. Racism knows no boundaries and hate creeps alongside it, looking for any reason to grow. The only way to combat the condition is through education and experience. Here is one time we can look to children for help. When a group of children, ages 4-10, were shown the commercial and then asked what they thought was controversial about the ad, they were at a loss for an answer.
Conducting this survey was the Fine Brothers who are known for their video series entitled React on which they quiz kids, teens, adults of all ages on their reactions to YouTube videos that have gone viral. The React videos reveal in an unbiased manner how America thinks.
“We’ve always had a passion for championing people’s individuality and giving them a voice, so we wanted to make a show that could give people an outlet to share their opinions that could have an audience learn, laugh, and even cry along with them barring the topic.” Fine Brothers
Can we trust what the Fine Brothers reveal? I believe we can. There is no reason for them to create a false impression, no monetary gain for misrepresentation and we all know when it comes to children, they often say it like they see it. If what they found is to be believed, there is hope for the future.
“It’s just the color of their skin, what matters is if they’re nice or mean,” says one young child.
I couldn’t have said it any better myself.