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Day: February 2, 2014

February 2 (Super Bowl Sunday): Just Checking, Gracie, and Proud To Be

While I could make today’s post be about Groundhog Day, I did that last year.

No, this year, thanks to the calendar, February 2nd is a different sort of holiday (for some, anyway). It’s Super Bowl Sunday. And in the spirit of the day, I’m presenting several commercials. They might not seem related on first glance, but they are. Here’s why.

The first comes in three parts. Part one is the original commercial, published on YouTube by General Mills on May 28, 2013. It might not seem like a big deal, until you hear that General Mills had to shut down all the comments on its YouTube post because the ad sparked a flood of racist vitriol. You can read all about the controversy by searching on the words Just Checking Ad.

This evening, Cheerios is doing it again, with a follow-up to the first commercial, which General Mills published on YouTube on January 28, 2014.

This is, by all accounts, a normal family, but a lot of people don’t see them that way. “Gracie” is played by six-year-old Grace Colbert. She and her parents have been interviewed on a number of news outlets, and the conversation goes very much the same each time. And yes, considering our president’s heritage, it’s a discussion that has to happen, out in the open, because we assign far, far too much importance to the differences in race in this country. Clearly, we still have a long way to go, recognizing that our differences are nowhere near as important as our similarities.

Well, what does that have to do with the commercial below? It’s not airing during the show because the cost for the slot was prohibitively expensive. But it’s on a subject that is at least as important as the normalization of families from multi-ethnic backgrounds and it is specifically aimed at the National Football League, which should make it a top priority. But since it’s not airing this evening, let me share it with you so you can share it with others.

Our local football team chooses to keep a racial epithet as a name. I say it’s time we retired the word, so that it may join its brother, the N-word, because that is how we show respect for the values and lives of Native Americans. And that’s where these two commercials tie in.

We are all brothers under the skin. Our perceptions, our judgments, are all wrapped up in the exterior package. Wouldn’t it be better to understand and respect  each other instead of judging and vilifying what we don’t know or understand?

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