Several months ago, a Cheerios advertisement aired which featured a white mother, a black father, and their biracial daughter. To many, such a thing seems rather mundane, and rightly so. To others however, this ad was an abomination. Certain parts of society voiced outrage that seemed straight out of the 1960s.
Cut to last week when it was made known that another such ad was soon to strike the airwaves. MSNBC tweeted that the right-wing would probably rise in outrage yet again (paraphrasing). Apparently, the Republican Party took exception to this. In fact, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, threatened to boycott the news outlet (meaning that he and the organization’s surrogates would not appear there) until the station’s president, Phil Griffin, apologized formally. Griffin did apologize and the tweet was deleted, though this is the internet we are talking about so nothing is ever truly deleted.
During the Super Bowl a few days later, the Cheerios ad which had been teased aired featuring the same biracial family as the first ad. That wound up not being the ad which garnered the most attention, both negative and positive, as another ad eclipsed it significantly. Coca-Cola had a commercial featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in English…as well as other languages mixed into the song’s verses. The response was…predictable.
Some people saw the ad for what it was: a recognition that America is a nation that draws its strength from its diversity. The usual suspects, on the other hand, were up in arms in protest. Many voiced their anger that America’s national anthem was being sung in languages other than English, even though “America the Beautiful” is not America’s national anthem. Even the angry responses that were not quite as ignorant as that proved that some people have no regard for the fact that much of the good of this nation is because part of the American dream is that people can come here from wherever and have a better lot in life if they are willing to put in the effort, which many immigrants have proven they are willing to do. Much of the greatness that America stands for is due in no small part to its heterogeneity, without which, for good or ill, our history as a nation and a people would be diminished.
In the end, the aforementioned tweet from MSNBC proved to be correct, which is truly unfortunate. It is a sad day when racial backlash can be so accurately predicted so far in advance. Racists and xenophobes have yet again shown that America, as beautiful as it is, still has very far to go.