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.)