Chirlane McCray, the African-American wife of white New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, released a letter Tuesday showing her support of a controversial recent Cheerios commercial that featured an interracial couple.
McCray comes to the defense of interracial marriages and calls the ad “refreshing” – despite the online backlash it has received.
“As an interracial couple, we sometimes felt conspicuous – which was painful. If you’re in love with someone, you’re in love with someone,” she writes. “But Bill and I believed it would get better over time, and we hoped for our kids it would be easier. That’s why the Cheerios ad is so refreshing.”
In the 30-second commercial, a biracial toddler tells her white mother: “Mom, dad told me Cheerios is good for your heart. Is that true?”
The mother tells her it is and explains that Cheerios contains whole-grains and oats that can help remove cholesterol and that the cereal is heart healthy.
Moments later, the young girl runs off and the ad cuts to a scene where a black man, presumably the girl’s father, wakes up from a nap on the couch.
As he rises, hundreds of Cheerios fall from his chest where they were originally dumped on his shirt and over his heart.
The company published the commercial to You Tube and was soon forced to shut off its comments section after viewers made many racist remarks.
Some of the comments included references to “Nazis,” “troglodytes” and “racial genocide.”
However, Camille Gibson, the vice president of marketing for Cheerios tells Gawker that consumers have responded positively to the ad.
“At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all,” she says.
McCray is among the supporters of the commercial. In her note, she says:
“Nineteen years of marriage and two children later, this is the first TV commercial I have ever seen with a family that looks a little bit like ours. And it’s a big deal that despite some nasty criticism, Cheerios — a staple on American breakfast tables, spanning generations and cross-cutting just about every social boundary — produced the ad and stuck by it.”
She adds, “Cheerios is recognizing the changing face of America, and celebrating that our differences make us stronger.”
Follow Lilly Workneh @Lilly_Works