Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

SoCal multiracial families create their own Cheerios 'ads'

Clockwise from top left: Jenn Noble, with a photo of her parents; Farzana Nayani with her two sons, described by their mother as
Clockwise from top left: Jenn Noble, with a photo of her parents; Farzana Nayani with her two sons, described by their mother as "Malaysian-German-Pakistani-Filipino"; Sonia Kang with her husband and two youngest children; Pamela Ireland with her daughter.
Multiracial Americans of Southern California

Call it a reaction to a reaction.

A group of multiracial Southern Californians, happy to see a new Cheerios commercial featuring a mixed-race family - but upset over the flood of hateful comments it generated online - has come up with "ads" of its own.

The Cheerios ad went up on YouTube last week. In it, a little girl with brown skin asks her mother, who is white, if it's true that the cereal is "good for your heart." After her mother answers, the little girl runs off. The camera then cuts to her father, who is black, waking from a nap to find a pile of Cheerios on his chest.

Online, the ad drew praise for addressing shifting demographics when the number of multiracial American families is on the rise. But it also triggered a flood of hate-speech comments so vitriolic that Cheerios disabled the comments section under the video.

"We knew there would be some kind of backlash, but we did not expect it to be such hatred," said Sonia Kang, a board member of Multiracial Americans of Southern California, a group formed in 1986 that celebrates and advocates for multiracial families and children.

Kang and other group members initially thought to put together a press release and a statement thanking Cheerios, but soon came up with more creative ideas. People began taking photos of themselves and their own mixed-race families posing with Cheerios boxes, posting them to the group's Facebook page.

In hers, Kang poses with her husband and their two youngest children, 7 and 5, smiling and holding a Cheerios box. Kang, founder of the ethnic-inspired Mixed Up Clothing company, identifies as Latina and black; her husband is Korean American.

Other posting photos include a mother of Filipino-Pakistani descent with her two young sons, whom she identifies as "Malaysian-German-Pakistani-Filipino"; a Japanese American mother with her white-Japanese daughter; a young woman of black and Persian descent; a white woman whose husband is black; a Japanese and Mexican American couple with their two kids; and a woman of black and Sri Lankan heritage, with a photo of her parents taped to the cereal box.

Thomas Lopez, a member of the group who is the son of a white mother and Mexican American father - and whose adopted youngest child is biracial black and white - produced his own tribute commercial with his family:

Lopez has addressed his heritage before in animated short films, including one titled "Mixed Mexican" that has made film festival rounds.

The 2010 census revealed that the number of Americans who identify as being of more than one race has been in the rise, growing at a faster clip than those who identify as being of a single race.

General Mills, the company that makes Cheerios, has stood by the ad and plans to continue airing it.

Here's the original: