(Photo: Screen Grab via MSNBC)
The parents of Grace Colbert, 6, the bi-racial girl in the Cheerios commercial that sparked a debate on social media about what an American family should look like, decided to speak out this week and the girl's father says America better get used to multiracial families because they are a fact of life.
"There is many other things that we could talk about in America but this still being an issue, people having a problem with who I choose to love or whom you choose to love it shouldn't be an issue anymore, I actually don't understand why it's still is this issue that keeps going and going and going," Grace's father, Christopher Colbert, told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts in an interview on Tuesday.
In the Cheerios commercial which began airing about two weeks ago, Grace plays a little girl asking her white mother about the health benefits of Cheerios. The commercial features a black man as her father.
The comments section on the video of the commercial on YouTube had to be disabled soon after it was posted as reactions to the biracial family portrayed in the video turned negative.
"When we first saw the first five comments, they were good and then it started to get negative after that point," said Christopher. "My reaction to it was very exciting because being a part of the biracial family is just a reality. We're also part of the face of America and so America needs to see this is just a way of life and this is the way that life is today."
Camille Gibson, vice-president of marketing at General Mills, the company that makes Cheerios, said as much in an earlier interview on NBC.
"We were trying to portray an American family and there are lots of multicultural families in America today," she said.
When asked about her daughter's reaction to the controversy surrounding the commercial, Grace's mother Janet said she spoke with her daughter about it and she thought people were debating her smile.
"I enquired to my daughter about it and she actually thought the attention was because she had a great smile so, she really had no idea," said Janet.
Data recently reported from the 2010 census showed that the number of interracial couples across America has reached an all-time high.
One in ten or 5.4 million heterosexual married couples identified as interracial, reflecting a 28 percent increase from 2000. Some 18 percent or 1.2 million heterosexual unmarried couples were also from different races.
"We're becoming much more of an integrated, multiracial society," noted demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution in the report.
"This is a movement toward a post-racial society, but most social scientists would agree we're a long way from a colorblind or post-racial society," said sociologist Dan Lichter of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "Race is still a category that separates and divides us," but "this might be evidence that some of the historical boundaries that separate the races are breaking down."