It is a simple TV commercial promoting a well-known breakfast cereal.
A cute little girl, complete with curly hair, a sweet smile and an even sweeter voice, asks Mommy if the crunchy goodness in her bowl was really “good for her heart.”
The next cut shows that the little dimply sweetheart poured the cereal (Cheerios, for those who really care) over Daddy’s rising and falling, but obviously sleeping chest, thereby implying her rather naive intent to help her father live longer as a direct consequence of consuming said cereal.
Heavy commercialism based upon ignorant science used for the sole intent to sell cheap breakfast cereal to ill-informed customers?
A cute way to entice young parents to buy their stuff?
But what set this aside from every other nauseating commercial to sell us crap we don’t need under the false premise that we do, is that the mommy in the ad is white.
Now, this might strike some of you as odd, but let me finish.
The rising and falling chest of the daddy, as well as the cute little girl herself, is not white, as in the color of their collective skin.
Therein, apparently for some, lay the issue.
YouTube was forced to disable the comments section for the video version after it was quickly flooded with virulent racist comments.
As coincidence would have it, I have had the pleasure of being a monthly guest on a political talk show on KZYR (97.7 FM) for the past few years, and just last week we were asked a question about the current state of racism in our country.
Although aware of the Cheerios debacle, we discussed the political angle, specifically the role racism currently plays in Washington, D.C.
To me, the election of President Obama in 2008 ushered in a new era of racism, one that plays out on the anonymous Internet stage, allowing today’s surplus of cowards to show their true colors (pun intended) without fear of reprisal or anyone knowing what they actually think in person.
So instead of being better, I truly believe the hatred and vitriol is now off the charts, even worse than when I was a North Dallas kid growing up in the ’60s.
Look, we all know that racism is the belief that the color of ones skin dictates superiority to others, right? Not the language spoken, location lived, hair color, car type, job or preferred beer.
It’s the epitome of an inferiority complex comforted only by conforming to those with like-minded insecurities. In other words, you’re a bigot.
Adolf Hitler was a racist bigot. So are members on both sides of Congress and other hypocrites who hide behind pulpits like Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson.
And the whole mess always plays out like Pee-wee Herman’s favorite line, “I know you are but what am I,” when either side makes absurd accusations such as trotting out their black guy to prove they’re not racist.
“I like Herman Cain and Allen West!” they will shout, as if claiming such raises their dialogue to a respectable level.
It’s just silly.
Like religion, our steeped-in insecurities, tribal mentality over damn near anything unknown or different, ensures that both sadly will always be around to one degree or another.
But either way, come on people, it’s just flippin’ breakfast cereal. What’s next, directional promotions for Special KKK or Post Honey Bunches of Bigots, or my personal favorite, Kellogg’s Fascist Flakes?
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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