Biracial Cheerios Commercial: Hope, Then Sadness

Late last week this Cheerios commercial was all over the internet, and of course, multiple people were posting it to me on Facebook.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYofm5d5Xdw

When I first saw it on another mom blog’s page, I was overjoyed. What an adorable ad. It was perfectly understated. Just two parents hanging out with their kid. I am seriously going to go buy some Cheerios even though we rarely eat cereal. They were actually my favorites growing up anyway. Annika has never liked cereal, but it’s been long enough. It will probably become her new obsession. The only thing about the commercial that I thought was unbelievable was the fact that the mom was quietly sitting at the kitchen table reading while the dad was taking a nap.

But anyway, it didn’t take long for my bubble to get popped when I started seeing articles about how this ad brought out the racists. I hadn’t bothered to read any comments when I initially viewed this ad, so I didn’t get to see them. I never read comments unless it’s late and I’m severely bored. Apparently, according to various articles, the racist comments got so bad, they were closed. I saw a few on some of the other articles. They made me a little sick.

It was just another reminder that there are people in the world who view me and my daughter with quiet hatred every time we go out in public. Just when I start to become complacent, out it comes.

For the most part, I figure it doesn’t matter to me. There is hate all over the world. But it worries me, how people view Annika. I worry about how she will manage as she ages and how the racism will affect her self esteem. Or how it might affect her in situation where she might stick out just a little more than a white kid.

You can read more about this on these articles from Slate, Reddit, Gawker, I love this one in particular, an editorial on Jezebel.

 

Biracial History is not Part of Black/White History: Creating a New History

In my last post I wondered how much Black History Month, which happens every February, will affect Annika’s when she’s old enough to understand the racist history of our country.

It got me to thinking, as I have every February for the past few years, about the history of being biracial. Since becoming pregnant with Annika, the notion of being biracial was something I’ve thought long and hard about.

Toyin told me a few times early on that Annika is simply black, at least, in the eyes of society and the rest of the world. I’m not entirely sure that he really believes that deep down, it’s just one of those things that is ingrained into the mind and society of African Americans.The belief is held based on white history as well. The one drop rule is something whites forced onto blacks during the years of Jim Crow and slavery.

Ironically, the one drop rule has been perpetuated by the black community and accepted by many biracial people. In recent history, they would have been, most likely correct more often than not. I believe that is changing because of people who aren’t afraid to speak out about their inner beliefs.

I came across these videos from The Phil Donahue Show from the 1990s. Eight video clips show light-skinned blacks and biracial people talking about various topics like, “passing” for white, being the victim of unwitting blatant racism, and struggling with the creation of their own identities. Passing is huge part of the biracial person’s history, as is struggling with finding acceptance from both the white and black communities. These videos are very telling, very interesting, and the relative recency of them makes me wonder how much will have changed in another 20 years, when Annika is a young adult.

Speaking about the identity struggle based on race mixing is new, in the historic sense. And it started with people like you’ll see in these videos, not afraid to share their experiences, and demanding the right to choose which culture they felt most comfortable with, no matter what their skin color said about them to other people.

This stuff is a big part of the biracial person’s history. It is a struggle that separates them from both black and white, and at the same time, gives them access to both. Historically, the African American/Caucasian biracial person has struggled with identity in ways that blacks and whites cannot identify with fully.

Here are the first four. You can watch all eight clips here.