Recently, a new Cheerios cereal commercial hit the airwaves and
the hearts of many viewers, including mine. A sweet little brown girl with
tight curls, a white mom and black dad took over the television screen and,
within a 30-second spot, gave me hope that our country can become the racial
utopia I wish it to be.
Alas, racist commenters on YouTube quickly deflated that vision.
Being a Latina mom in America with the goal of instilling my Latino heritage in my children, I'm inherently creating a bicultural identity for my children.
Coupled with an interracial marriage, the challenge of raising children with a
healthy personal identity is only magnified. Any mainstream exposure that creates
a positive image of diversity and multiculturalism is a benefit to families
But how does the Cheerios family translate to mixed Latino American
perspectives? With a brown Latina mom and a black African American dad, how do
my kids fit into the scope of Latino American identity?
I'm happy to learn that Hispanics scored the Cheerios ad
well according to marketing surveys, but I'm not naïve to the tendencies of
Latinos to lust after light skin, straight hair and blue eyes. Do Latinos really
see the beauty in that tiny biracial actress? Do they see the innocence and
pride in my child when she proclaims, "Mamá, soy Latina como tu" even though she may not look Latina to some? With racial
views like "mejorando la raza" still
prevalent, my hope for the Cheerios ad goes deeper than the black and white debate
of modern American families. My hope is that my Latino community is listening,