Does giving greater voices to racists breed more haters?
As a toddler, my son had his own Tupperware container which was always filled with Cheerios. Whatever he was doing; playing with Thomas the Train, watching Sesame Street, coloring, drawing or reading, his Cheerios were never far away. This may be one of the reasons he is over six feet tall at the ripe old age of fifteen.
I love Cheerios and I love Cheerios commercials, especially the ones featuring kids. Each ad starts out the same way: adorable child asks parent if Cheerios are good for your heart, parent says yes and Cheerios wind up in a briefcase or a pocket or in the latest ad, all over Dad’s chest. The ads work, people buy Cheerios, the world continues to turn.
Except for the most recent Cheerios ad. I watched it on You Tube and at the end, when Daddy wakes from his nap with Cheerios on his shirt, I said “Awww!” Most people said “Awww!”, some did not. Some used words like Nazi and troglodyte and made horrible comments under the video. All because Mom was white, Dad was black and the angelic little girl with a gorgeous smile and curly hair had skin the color of cafe au lait.
2013 and we’re still dealing with this crap. Cheerios to their credit refuses to pull the ad, but they were forced to close the comment section on YouTube for the video. What kind of person sees a commercial for breakfast cereal and yanks on their Klan hood, screaming about monkeys and the “N” word? I wish someone could explain this to me, because my son would like me to explain it to him, and I can’t.
My parents didn’t raise me to be a racist, a bigot or hateful. They raised me to see people for who they are, not what they look like. A few years before she died, my mom told me a story about a boy I liked in kindergarten. She visited the school for some sort of performance, and after it was over, I whispered to her that I had a crush.
She asked me who, and I pointed to him, identifying him as “the boy in the red sweater.” He was black, but that’s not what I saw. I saw a cute boy in my class who that day was wearing a red sweater.
I have been chastised by people for not seeing race, as if that somehow means I do not see racism. I see racism, and I’ve been a victim of it. My car had the “N” word written on it with soap outside a karaoke bar because I was there with a dear friend, a black man.
That same man has been beaten up by white supremacists and I have been told to my face by a self-professed member of the KKK that white women shouldn’t date “them.” My own uncle was a racist, as was my maternal grandmother. So, I see racism. I just don’t understand it.
Another what the eff racist moment that may have been missed last week was the appearance of Tommy Robinson on Bill O’Reilly’s television show. Tommy Robinson is the leader of the English Defence League, a violent, extremist, anti-Muslim hate group in Britain. Everyone knows this, except apparently Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly did cite news articles that call the EDL “fascist” and “racist,” but still allowed Robinson time on one of the highest rated cable news in America to preach his propaganda about white, “Christian values.” Members of the EDL often make videos calling for “stamping” while decked out in Nazi uniforms.
Summing up, Bill O’Reilly featured a leader of one of the most racist and violent organizations in Europe on his top-rated program and Cheerios ran an ad that somehow managed to enrage quite a few white people in America, most of whom probably think Tommy Davidson and the EDL have the right idea.
Gee, do you think there might be a connection between allowing the leader of a hate group to spew his racism on television and the fact that it’s the 21st century, and we still have violent racists in this country? Nah. Mainstreaming racism couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this.
Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to have a bowl of Cheerios and read To Kill A Mockingbird. I like sticking it to racists any way I can.