The nearly three-minute video is of course intended to make us feel positive about Cheerios, manufactured by General Mills. While others have praised the ad for its positive image of gay men, how would the world feel about two gay black men raising a white baby? We seriously doubt it would have the same wide acceptance and elicit huzzahs from liberals.
I'm not feeling my Cheerios in watching this ad, Actually I'm downright uncomfortable how the ad portrays adoption as sugar and spice and everything nice just like Cheerios.
ADOPTION IS ABNORMAL
The child is so clearly out of place--a very dark child with very white men. I imagine that in a few years, she is going to wonder "what am I doing here?" The racism inherent in the video has been missed by commentators, including the African-American syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. In a column headed, "Another milestone on the path to gay equality," he writes: "For the cereal to lend its name to a campaign presenting a family with two dads and a toddler as ... 'normal,' speaks to the great progress we have made in defusing the terror with which too many of us once regarded gay men and lesbians."
|Leonard Pitts, Jr|
Frank Ligtvoet, a gay adoptive father of two black children, is acutely aware of the abnormality of adoption, writing in the Huffington post "Adoption, Commodification, and Normalcy":
"Adoption is not a normal way to build a family. It is a complicated way, which next to happiness to adoptive parents brings sorrow and sadness for all involved. ...My kids are Black and I am white. I, being gay, have a biological mother who cared for me from day one. They have a first mother, who they seldom see. I have one set of parents and they have two. They have the traumatic experience of abandonment, which I don't have. They are the exception in almost every crowd, while I am the norm. They are displaced from a foreign world, while I stayed home. They are poor and I am rich."The differences between the adoptive family and the natural family scream out in this ad. Perhaps General Mills is aware the ad may not sit well with some of us; that's why it hasn't been aired in the U. S., though it is readily available to anyone on the Internet.
THE BUSINESS OF SENDING BLACK BABIES ABROAD
I hasten to add that of course situations occur where a black child needs a home, and if that home can be provided by a white gay couple, so be it. What is happening though is that to meet the demand for babies in Canada and western Europe, the adoption industry has convinced poor black mothers that the best chance for their child is to be sent abroad where, mothers are led to believe--and there is some truth in it--there is less discrimination and the adoptive parents are rich according to articles in CNN, Overseas Adoption Rise for Black American Children, and the Portland Oregonian "Sending Black Babies North."
Americans should be ashamed that we are sending our children away. Instead General Mills is using its implicit racism to promote that quintessential of American foods, breakfast cereal.--jane
VIDEO BELOW. LET US KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT.
Racism is not all that's wrong with this ad. Earlier Lorraine wrote about how the ad promotes adoption by portraying the adoptive family as better than the natural family and how displaying gay adoption increases the pressure on the adoption industry to find babies, at the expense of vulnerable mothers:
Cheerios Commercial: Gay dads adopt and sell cereal
Another Milestone on the path to gay equality
Adoption, Commodification and Normalcy
The White Man's Burden
Overseas Adoptions Rising
Sending Black Babies North
Canadian parents paying less to adopt African American babies
Struggle For Identity, Special Edition
This video brought abstract ideas into focus by showing their impact on real people in everyday life. I used it in a class on adolescent development dealing with identity formation and social differences. The young people who were interviewed echoed many of the issues we were reading about, especially those complicated by multiple sources of identity, including race and gender.
Just a great teaching tool. I also think it would be very helpful for counselors and others working with biracial families, adoption and interracial families and children."--M.S. Crowley on Amazon
"Ten years later, I viewed the original again. The issues in transracial adoption raised by the young adults back then are just as relevant today. This will continue to be an excellent training tool for professionals and adoptive parents. As a viewer and professional in the field, I was impressed by the conversation 10 years later with John and Michelle. The message from these two adoptees in 2007 is fundamentally the same, but it is now textured with maturity and years of experience working as professionals in an admittedly flawed foster care system. They both understand the flaws, yet are able to paint their picture in a clear, vibrant manner while capturing the nuances inherent in the interactions of human beings. The videos "deleted scenes" are a bonus and well worth viewing. The overall production is user-friendly, crisp and clear. Bravo to John and Michelle and bravo to Citizens' Coalition for Children on producing such a valuable video."--Ernesto Loperena, Executive Director of New York Council on Adoptable Children, Inc.