Backlash greets Cheerios ad with interracial family

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, New Media, Social Science, United States on 2013-06-01 02:07Z by Steven

Backlash greets Cheerios ad with interracial family

The Washington Post
2013-05-31

Mary C. Curtis

Here we go again, with more proof, if anyone needed it, that the post-racial American society some hoped the election of an African American president signified is far from here.

Who would have thought that breakfast cereal would trigger the latest racial battle line? In this case, a Cheerios ad much like every other homespun Cheerios ad — with a heart healthy message and loving family – ran into trouble from some commenters because of the kind of family it featured. Mom is white, dad is black and their cute little daughter is a mix of the both of them.

That’s it.

Cheerios had to disable comments on YouTube – I’m not going to repeat them but you can imagine the general witless racism with stereotypes about minorities and warnings of race-mixing as the end of civilization.

I didn’t take any of it personally, though my family’s morning breakfast ritual – black mom, white dad, son who is a mix of both of us – looks a lot like the ad if you subtract the general cheeriness before we get that first cup of coffee down…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama and the Elusive Idea of Race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-02 02:46Z by Steven

Obama and the Elusive Idea of Race

The Root
2011-04-26

Mary C. Curtis

Scientists increasingly conclude that ethnicity cannot be defined scientifically, but that hasn’t stopped the racists, the Birthers and the confused from casting their insecurities onto the president.

It’s not surprising to get involved in a heated discussion about race when you’re strolling through a museum exhibit called “Race: Are We So Different?” And wouldn’t you know that President Barack Obama would get caught right in the middle of it.

Not all charges that the president isn’t who he says he is come from Donald Trump’s “Birther” fantasies or a California GOP official’s crude email. A young mother and fan had her own issues with Obama when we talked while strolling through the latest attraction at Discovery Place, Charlotte, N.C.’s hands-on science museum.

“Race: Are We So Different?”—with its science-based displays showing that human beings are more alike than any other living species, and its assertion that no one gene or set of genes can support the idea of race—shouldn’t be controversial or particularly revelatory. That the exhibit is, in fact, both reveals how invested so many people are in racial differences and in the ranking of one race over another. The show—which closes May 8—has inspired discussions by school and business groups in a city with an African-American mayor whose residents have nonetheless scored low on measures of trust among the races.

The mother, with a young daughter at her side and a son in a stroller, couldn’t contain her disappointment—anger, even—that the president had marked “black” instead of indicating “biracial” or one in the long list of multiracial alternatives on the 2010 census form. She was white; her husband—not in attendance that day—was black. And their children were the reason she was upset at the president of the United States and why it was personal. “He’s president. He could have been an example,” she insisted.

I tentatively engaged her. Since she and her children had the right to choose, wasn’t it hypocritical for her to criticize others for their choices? And since—as the exhibit around us made clear—race is an uneven line that has shifted throughout history, depending on political and economic expediency, why does a check mark on a page matter so much?

Suppose, at some later date, one or both of her children checked “black” on that census form. Would she love them any less? I asked her…

Read the entire article here.

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More children identify as ‘biracial’: just a choice or a good thing?

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2012-04-27 04:30Z by Steven

More children identify as ‘biracial’: just a choice or a good thing?

The Washington Post
2012-04-26

Mary C. Curtis

It’s been happening for a while — census data show it. The number of mixed-race babies has quickly grown in the last decade, a trend that’s no surprise in an increasingly diverse country. Men and women are choosing partners of different races and identifying their children using the array of hyphenated options now available on forms that still ask the question.

More than 7 percent of the 3.5 million children born in the year before the 2010 Census were of two or more races, up from 5 percent a decade earlier, the Washington Post reports. In the story, William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who analyzed the information, said, “I think people are more comfortable in identifying themselves, and their children, as mixed race.” He added, “It’s much more socially acceptable, more mainstream, to say, ‘That’s what we want to identify them as.’ ”

What is come down to is choice, and if it remained just that, it would be fine. But Frey goes on to assign value to this particular choice. “This is a huge leap,” he said. “This is a ray of hope that we’re finally moving into an era where this very sharp black-white divide is breaking apart.”

That’s where he makes a leap, that it’s a matter of, well, black and white. Identifying as biracial is a choice now, but does it have to be better? Is Tiger Woods’ “Cablinasian” option more enlightened than Halle Berry’s decision to self-identify as black?

Frey isn’t the only one who judges the trend as a “ray of hope,” a necessary step forward in relationships between races. When President Barack Obama checked off one race, black, on his census form, he was criticized by some, accused of somehow denying his white mother. It may have marked the first time such indignation over the issue reached a fever pitch, though if it were Barack the bank robber I hardly think whites would be clamoring to claim him.

At the time, a white woman married to a black man told me she was angry and disappointed for her two children’s sake. “He’s president. He could have been an example,” she told me. That we were walking through a Charlotte science museum exhibit “Race: Are We So Different?” that proved the many ways humans are more alike than any other species made our discussion both fraught and beside the point. Since she wanted freedom to choose, how could she criticize the president for his? I asked her. He would certainly know his motives better than a stranger whose reaction might have more to do with her own…

…My grown-up son fills out his own census form now, a black man with a white father and a special relationship with a white grandmother he loves with all his heart. It’s not confusing at all…

Read the entire article here.

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