Cheerios and American Diversity

Vintage Childrens  book Happy Family illustration 1950s family

Feeling nostalgic for those pre-civil rights days?

 Cheerios is serving up some good old-fashioned controversy in it’s all American breakfast cereal, bringing to light some rather racist comments.

 Its use of an interracial family has some on both sides of the spectrum up in arms posting racist remarks so ugly Cheerios had to shut down the comments  on the You Tube video.

In a supposed post-racial America that has a mixed race president why such controversy?

This retro racist backlash is so 1952.

 White Wash

illustration 1950s family advertising

The longtime held belief of one kind of American family is as dated and quaint as this vintage ad for John Hancock Life Insurance.

“No two families are alike” announces the headline to the advertisement. Yes, there is great diversity in America… that is as long as you are white, middle class and Protestant. Whether in  advertising, children’s schoolbooks or television, mid-century America was a very black and white world.

Vintage illustration childrfens school books Dick jane and Sally

Vintage Illustration Dick Jane and Sally Vintage children’s School Book 1950s

Today there are lots of multiracial families. Mixed race couples make up 14% of co habituating couples….just not in advertising. Ad agencies and the company’s that hire them continue to cover their eyes to the diversity of American families.

Happy Families come in all colors.

So what’s new?

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  1. You should see the Aunt Jemima advertisments from the 1930s…! (She speaks in “dialect” for one thing. Oh dear!)


    • I’s sho hab seen dem’ They were just awful! I have a collection of other companies using the same kinds of dialect to hawk their products that date from the 1940s as well, when African Americans were bravely fighting in WWII


  2. Cousin Amy

    let us not forget our own family heritage of Dr. Posner shoes, using the tagline “All G-d’s Chill’un’ Need Shoes” from the December 1962 POSNER POINTERS monthly newsletter


  3. Albion Man

    Guilt-ridden white liberals are the worlds biggest bores!


  4. jeff jones

    found you thru ‘slate’…found slate thru KMDs excellent ‘occidental Observer’.


  5. Amy in Texas

    Yes, my New Cheerios Family is quite boring… and grateful we do not hear the crackle of a burning cross in our yard.


  6. Pingback: Why They Marched on Washington in 1963 | Envisioning The American Dream

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