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Cheerios Advertisement with Interracial Couple Brings Out America’s Underbelly.
The hopeful belief expressed by many that we are living in a post-racial America is challenged daily by the experience of many people of color. Of course, the dismissive comments of some public commentators that racism in America is largely in the past and therefore needs no serious attention are challenged every day by the experience of those who suffer. This challenge comes not only from the type of racist diatribe heard on right-wing radio, and the more subtle and sophisticated racist, innuendos hurled about during "polite" conversations in boardrooms, classrooms, locker rooms and living rooms; it also comes in very effective ways that severely affect the economic well-being of many Americans. In fact, the re-election of President Obama has brought to the surface some of the simmering racist attitudes that have long permeated our society.
These attitudes often manifest in actions that are dangerous and detrimental to the lives of human beings. These are not abstract concepts. When a gay person is attacked it is very real. When a black person is denied a promotion, or forced to work under untenable circumstances, there are far-reaching consequences to that person and those whose lives are affected. Through decades of immigration, Black people in America, as a collective, are still at the bottom of the socio-economic totem pole. This is because of the persistent, organized, racialized, and systemic discriminatory policies that exist in many areas of American life.
Nothing positive can come from burying our heads in denial and dismissing this resurging bigotry and its effects as only existing in fringe elements. In fact, that is simply being dishonest if not hypocritical; it is also dangerous and irresponsible. We commend Cheerios/General Mills for standing by its advertisement and reflecting a real segment of American life. Let us stop pretending and take steps to address these issues when they arise.
In a community television program produced by OneWorld Progressive Institute in Feb. 2013, we asked the question - "Is Black History Month Still Relevant in the Age of Obama?" In part 2 of the same program we asked - "Are We Living In A Post-Racial America?" Six African American high school students from Hamden and New Haven participated in the Civic Engagement program with Professor Antoinette Brim. The answers the students gave can be seen in segments of the program linked below.
“IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH STILL RELEVANT IN THE AGE OF OBAMA?” And "Are We Living in a Post-Racial America?"
Black History Month Part 1 = 15 mins http://youtu.be/rF7JoDENfb4
Black History Month - Part 2 = 26 mins - http://youtu.be/iw0LVaS8c-c