In a nutshell, the commercial began with a young girl that is mixed running up to her mom who is white, asking her a question, and then running to her dad that is black. It was a simple, and in my opinion, very sweet commercial. Cheerios received a lot of backlash during the summer when this commercial aired. It was on the Yahoo! trending topics, and even on CNN. Controversial because, “how dare Cheerios put out a commercial that depicts such a common American family in the year 2013?”
That same commercial was shown to a group of young children, all different races and ages. When asked if they noticed anything different about the commercial, they unanimously said, “no” or “no, its just a Cheerios commercial.” Innocently shrugging it off, like all other viewers should have. The interviewer later proceeded to tell them that a lot of people thought that it was wrong that the family was mixed, mom being white and dad being black. Like myself, these young kids couldn’t believe that this was even an issue. One of them innocently said “I thought Martin Luther King took care of that?” After several more questions, and their disbelieved expressions towards the issue, we learn that this issue is among adults.
I personally thought that young children were obviously going to have an innocent opinion of the matter. They haven’t reached an age that has allowed them to experience prejudice or discrimination. Children, especially young children, haven’t been contaminated by society and its opinions. They will act and treat only to what they feel. If the person is nice or if a person is mean. A lot of these opinions about other races and cultures are generational, they are learned through parents and other family members. If someone hasn’t personally had a bad experience with another race, but constantly hears their parents or grandparents speak wrongly of them, then that is the image they naturally have of that certain group. Children learn what they see and hear.

Americanizing Your Heritage

Julie Chen has recently revealed that some years ago she had to undergo plastic surgery. The reason that she went under the knife was because her heritable features weren’t up to par with the current network, or any network for that matter. Her Asian features, pulled back eyes, heavy eyelids, and wide nose, weren’t relatable with the Ohio community she was longing to broadcast to. She decided she would never work for them again, and got herself an agent. To her surprise, the agent told her the same thing. She needed to “Americanize” herself basically. Plastic surgery became the only option that would give her, her dream job. After many talks with her family, she realized that strict Asian values would deem her to be unworthy among her extended family. Either way she was at a loss. With the approval of her parents, she flew to California to undergo plastic surgery. Now, she is a well known personality in the news as well as TV overall.

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As a Mexican, I unfortunately can’t identify myself with many immigrants. I grew up in a border town, learning to speak English while living in Mexico, and not fulfilling the “Hispanic” look that categorizes my race. I personally don’t know what I would do if I was in Chen’s shoes. On one hand, I would be infuriated by the fact that I have to look a certain way to execute a service to the public. On the other hand, I wouldn’t let something like that stop me from fulfilling a career that, as an immigrant, was harder to accomplish than others.
What I found shocking is that foreigners are still under a certain stigma. Many Americans describe this country as a melting pot. Knowing it is a melting pot of cultures, why is there still so much prejudice towards and even among immigrants. I am sure that by now, people realize that there is a big Asian, Latino, African American, and Middle Eastern community among them. So why this pressure to “Americanize” your looks to be more liked by the public? The chances the viewer will be an immigrant is likely to be very high.

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