“That’s it? It’s just a Cheerios commercial.” —Jake, 13, from Kids React
There’s always one, isn’t there? No matter where you go, who you are, or what meal of the day you’re eating, somebody has to stir up controversy. They have to pour a little drama into the cereal bowl.
Most people have probably seen, or at least heard about, the newest Cheerios commercial where a little girl pours dry cereal on her dad’s heart while he’s taking a nap. What were you thinking, Cheerios?
Wait, I might know what they were thinking. They were probably thinking about a basic tool of effective advertising: show adorable kids, sell more stuff.
They were probably thinking that showing how kids process information literally would be a cute twist on their “heart health” message.
They were probably thinking that acting out a simple act of love from a daughter to her daddy would make people go “awww,” and buy some Cheerios.
They were probably thinking this is 2013.
What they probably weren’t thinking is that their feel-good, heart-healthy message would blow up YouTube and shut down comment boards because of racist and radical comments about the skin colors of the family. A white mom? A black dad? A biracial daughter? Eating…Cheerios?
I had seen that commercial at least a dozen times before I heard about the controversy from my oldest daughter.
All I had remembered outside of the cute message was the little girl’s clothes. (They are adorable.) And by this time, I had already seen my youngest daughter watch the commercial for the first time. It put a huge smile on her face.
I wish I could have sidestepped her questions about why some people were so upset about it. I could tell by her expression and shoulder shrug, she was confused by the complaints, not the family. I would have thought this type of conversation would have run its course a few decades ago.
We were already here, so why not throw in a Westboro Baptist Church chat? Apparently Westboro protestors were picketing in front of the Kansas City Sprint Center last week when a friend and I went to a concert. The stuff they write on their signs isn’t reprintable here, so use your imagination.
So is there a right way to even begin to explain that group and the signs they carry to an eight-year-old who happens to see them on the TV news? And what if another 8-year-old is holding the signs? I’m way over 8, and I can’t grasp it.
My oldest daughter followed up the Cheerios controversy news by showing me a video called “Kids React.” It shows the reactions of a group of children between ages 7 and 13 after watching the Cheerios commercial, and then being told about some people’s reactions and rants.
As usual, kids say it best. From a disgusted 13-year-old in Kids React: “So…you’re wasting your time going on the Internet…going to the comments and typing some racial slur for a Cheerios commercial…. That’s dumb to me.”