Remember a few months back when that really sweet Cheerios commercial featuring a really sweet biracial family inspired some really nasty backlash? As the mother of two biracial children, I wasn't particularly surprised by the appallingly racist comments left in response to the advertisement's YouTube video; in the 12 years since my daughter was born, I feel like I've heard it all: She's adorable! What province did you get her from? Or, Look at those cute "chinky" eyes!
But to be honest, I was slightly surprised by just how appalling those comments were -- talk of Nazis and racial genocide? All because of a family eating breakfast?? What the hell is wrong with people?!
Well, a lot is wrong with a lot of people, but a lot is right with other people -- like Michael Murphy and Alyson West, founders of the Tumblr WeArethe15Percent.com.
More from The Stir: 15 Things Never to Say to Parents of Biracial Kids
Based in Atlanta, the interracial couple (and parents to daughter Alexandra) were both inspired by the original Cheerios commercial and disgusted by the backlash it received. As they tell it:
We created this site to publicly reflect the changing face of the American family. According to the 2008 census, 15% of new marriages are interracial. And yet, it still feels rare to see something like the Cheerios ad represented in mainstream culture.
Hence WeArethe15Percent.com, "a crowd-sourced collection of portraits of American interracial families and marriages, inspired by a Cheerios ad." But here's the thing -- the portraits manage to be more inspiring than the original ad, because they're real: Real people, real couples, real families like mine and yours. Not eating cereal, not selling anything ... just being people. Which may not seem like such a big deal, but that's kind of the whole point. Jamie Lynne Grumet, founder of the website IAmNottheBabysitter.com: "Confessions of a Transracial Family" (you might also remember her as the "Time Breastfeeding Mom"), puts it like this:
"Race biologically is non-existent, but it is very real culturally and that shouldn't be ignored for so many reasons. So a blog like this is brilliant in normalizing something we culturally have created and used against human beings."
And in an age of enduring ignorance, that's not merely inspiring, it's revolutionary.
Are you part of an interracial family?
Image via WeArethe15Percent.com