Does giving greater voices to racists breed more haters?

CheeriosAs 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.

Tommy Robinson
Tommy Robinson

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.

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. I admit I was shocked when i saw a white woman and mixed child but was completely confused as to why there was a white woman and mixed girl until they showed the dad. I had never seen a commercial showing this and was very happy the cheerios commercial had made it to my home.

  2. Has anyone seen the “Nautica” ad? It is the epitome of Racism. White man & kid on nice boat / Black man & kid with toy boat in small pond. White man & kid at resort beach / Black man & kid on deserted beach. Have brought this to the attention of “Color of Change” CEO, Rashad Robinson.
    I urge you to let him know of any racist media you r across.

  3. I totally understand what your saying man, and to a small degree I agree with you.
    however I will say that racist views, leaders of racist groups, and promotion of racist views on top rated news stations does make it alot easier for alot of people to see it and practically speaking alot of those people aren’t going to formulate their own opinion, they’re more likely to just accept whole heartedly.

  4. It is difficult to believe there is still so much racism in this Country. With the election of a black President, it seems a lot of people have allowed their racist attitudes to spill out for the world to see. Not a pretty sight. I’m surprised that some of the people I’m closest to suffer from this affliction.

  5. I saw the cartoon and thought it was hilarious. And cute. It says a great deal about how a child’s mind works.
    I would disagree that giving racist idiots a platform helps spread hate. If that were so, the past would be a lot more hate-free than it ever was. In the not-so-distant past it was not only skin colour but ethnicity. It was religion. If you go back far enough, it was just a matter of being from another village 25 miles up the road! Many who hold these opinions today didn’t need to turn on the television or go online to learn them — they learned them at home.
    Such people, who are abjectly terrified of anybody who’s “different”, will always be with us, but I think overall we’ve come a long way if you consider the fact that these attitudes are no longer accepted as the norm.

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