Are you kidding me?

I invite you to watch a short video clip.  It is only 31 seconds long. And after you have finished watching this particular video clip, which happens to be an advertisement for the well-known breakfast cereal Cheerios, I then invite you to explore your initial feelings and observations in relationship to what you just watched.

This ad has created some surprising controversy, and I would like to give our readers here at The Global Conversation an opportunity to weigh in on your thoughts and opinions surrounding this advertising campaign.

What do you think?

What do you feel?

Does anything strike you as odd or offensive?

I heard about “the controversial Cheerios commercial,” and I have to tell you, before reading the story behind the firestorm, I watched this video clip two or three times and STILL could not figure out what the commotion was all about.  When I went on to read an article about the negative reaction this video prompted from a segment of our world’s population, I felt as though I stepped back in some peculiar and unforgiving time machine.

Cheerios’ portrayal of a bi-racial couple, an African-American father and a Caucasian mother, both parents to a young mixed-race daughter, received so many negative and racist comments on YouTube — references to ‘Nazis’ and ‘troglodytes’ and ‘racial genocide’ – General Mills, the parent company of Cheerios, elected to disable the “comments” section underneath the video.

With as much progress and forward movement we have made as a society, how is it possible that there are still so many people who haven’t progressed and who haven’t moved forward?  Maybe I am naive, but I continue to be transported to a place of disbelief, oftentimes simply having no words to express, when I hear of or stand witness to human beings who not only judge but actually interfere in the well-being of another based on what they look like, how they talk, how old or young they are, how fat or skinny they are, who they love, how they wear their hair and like to dress, what kind of house they live in, how much money they have, who they like to have sex with, what color their skin is, etc.

When you watched this video, did you feel anything but affection and sweetness?  Contentment and warmness?  And maybe a sudden hunger for a bowl of Cheerios?

Actor Charles Malik Whitfield, the man who plays the African-American father in the ad, supports the Cheerios ad wholeheartedly and recently spoke about it.

“As an actor who happens to be African-American, I am very proud to be part of the forward-thinking Cheerios commercial produced by General Mills. I believe it represents what America stands for – regardless of race, creed or sexual preference. To all of the wonderful people who have supported this heart-warming and very adorable commercial, I applaud you all,” Whitfield said.

In a statement to ABC News, Camille Gibson, the VP of Marketing for Cheerios said, “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad.  At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”

Well, today, I celebrate you, General Mills, for being at the forefront of a New Cultural Story in our world.   Not only does it make me want to buy Cheerios, it makes me just simply want to be more loving, more compassionate, more accepting, and more aware than I have already declared myself to be.

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

 

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  • Christopher Toft

    My initial reaction after bewilderment & upon learning what the “controversy” is about is unprintable. Good god, I didn’t even notice the family was “mixed race”.

    • What will it take, Christopher, do you think, for these old ways of thinking to one day be unheard of, truly a thing of the past? Will we experience it? In this lifetime? Thank you for your comment and thank you for being an author of the kind of cultural story our world yearns to experience.

  • Christopher Toft

    I believe it will take a great deal of collective courage, compassion & open mindedness. The the “hundredth monkey” theory makes sense to me, that the more people move in the direction of tolerance & compassion, the more people around them will be affected to this & love snowballs down the hillside, so to speak. That said, i look around me & I observe that the process is very slow. Will it happen in our lifetime? I don’t know-I look at how far the UK has come in 25 years on the issue of gay rights & the “dominant” attitude here is now very liberal comparatively speaking. This is inspiring. I suppose the bottom line is that i think we can only work on ourselves, express love & see what happens. I would like to offer my thanks to you for offering a new cultural story too!

  • Tammy Arbeau

    I watched the video three times. I thought to myself, ok, so obviously the controversy must be about the claim that Cheerios is “heart-healthy.” When I discovered what the issue actually is, it simply made me aware that I have more work to do – both individually AND collectively. Thank you for making me aware.

  • poniesnpaint

    Judging from the comments here, I was not the only one who was colorblind to this commercial. All I saw was a child and her parents—color was never an issue, it was never even a consideration until somebody made a fuss about it. When we begin to NOT see things like this, then we will be making progress.
    Instead of punishing people for who and what they are, the acceptance does seem to be rising a bit from what it was when I was a child (50’s and 60’s). Then I was scarcely allowed to play with my black neighbor, and that has situation has improved and that’s good. I’d love to see it better, but small increments have to do for now. As the word gets out, the increments will increase until one day we’ll describe this as a family—not a bi-racial family or any other way of saying divisive things, it will merely be a family. Hooray for that and welcome the day!
    Tammy is right, we have work to do, but it’s righteous work and we’re glad to do it. Love passes around one person at a time, and we’re here to help that happen

  • Terri Lynn

    Funny. While watching the video ‘race’ never entered my mind. I did not see what the controversy was all about. How rediculous. To me I just saw the love of a little girl. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age that this ad would create any negative reaction. I am a firm believer that we can create a peaceful planet but this certainly opened my mind as to the long way there is to go in that arena. This makes me very sad.

    Thanks for the enlightenment, Lisa.

  • NealeDonaldWalsch

    Do you know what I thought? I thought the controversy was about the littie girl saying that “God told me that Cheerios is good for your heart, is that true?” Did I hear that first line right? Have we accepted that God talks to little girls all the time, but have not accepted that people of mixed race fall in love and have children…?

    • Terri Lynn

      I missed that line. Thanks for pointing that out. She does say, “God told me…” Way to go, Cheerios!

    • She actually says, “Dad told me that Cheerios is good for your heart, is that true?” Her ability to enunciate is crippled by her chubby, cute cheeks! However, it would be a bowlful of awesome irony if she did say “God” since most of the hate came from the Christian, intolerant right!

  • Dear Friends

    This add was designed and later followed with controversy by very skilful people who know how to manipulate the sleeping sheep on the net.

    If you have failed to notice it, you have a lot to learn about our leaders in public affaires.

    You great Spiritual people, how easy are you fooled?

    Where is your ESP to sort this kind of manipulation, jest imagine how easy is for them to manipulate you on the important Public matters, if you so easy fall hook line and sinker for this small unimportant cleverly designed add?

    Neale am I the only one who sees this or am I out of this world we live in?

    Victor

    • The possibility exists, Victor, that your opinions are correct. The possibility also exists that your opinions are incorrect. But in choosing who I am in relation to this particular story, what feels more important to me is not so much whether or not this story was manipulatively designed, but rather that right now in our world there are very real examples of people rigidly and fearfully clinging to belief systems that not only separate and divide, but actually persecute and oppress entire segments of our world population based skin color, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, just to name a few. It is not possible for me to know and, thus, defend or challenge the motivation behind the actions other people take, but I have great clarity around my own motivations…and I appreciate the opportunities to experience that knowing and that clarity on an even deeper level, including the opportunity you are providing me right now. Thank you, Victor.