Many families I associate with are still reeling from the fountain of negative responses from that innocuous Cheerios commercial. Many of them continue to be “shocked” that in the 21st century, people still had venom to spare for the idea of interracial families. I don’t have the space or time to get into why the very notion of “interracial” is highly problematic. Trust me, it is. What threw me off was that the venom came from many sides of the debate.
Folks objected to a Black man being with a White woman, while others objected to the notion of the daughter caring about her father’s health painting Black men as weak or infirm. Some objected that the father’s only speaking part (a single word) was uttered at the end of the commercial, after the bright yellow screen with LOVE printed on it appeared—his voice disembodied. All this aside, the heavyweight champion of all comments I read is the following: “I hate this commercial. It just shows you that the only time a Black man can be at peace is when he’s with a White woman.”
That was pure Facebook gold.
So-called interracial families are normal, and have been around for a very long time, despite them being illegal in many parts of this country up until the middle-late 20th century. The prevalence of these families is only going to increase. I’d like to take this opportunity to change the conversation a little.
Granted, we all know that the very idea of race is pure construction. It’s not a naturally occurring thing, it’s a classification system that emerged during Europe’s rampant imperialistic and colonization endeavors. The ideas of race classification were used to justify the horrors wrought by European expansionism. By viewing non-Europeans as less-than, it set up the perfect storm for willful cognitive dissonance. If the colonizers looked at the indigenous as something other than human, it was so much easier to enslave, exploit and brutalize them.
While race is a construction, it has very real-world consequences—hence the horrors of racism, colorism and Paula Deen. In the bigger scheme, color is arbitrary. What’s rarely spoken about is the idea of transcultural families.
What’s rarely discussed (by those who support, and are members of, interracial families) is the idea that they just might find more cultural similarities between people of different races than with those who resemble them…
Read the rest of Shawn Taylor’s post, “We Are The World…” at Ebony.com.