Seeing Is Believing: The Growing Multiracial Population
The Color of Us: Blog Post 03
By: Sonya Colattur
One of the first television commercials to ever represent a visual of a multiracial family was a Cheerios cereal commercial in 2013. In this commercial, a little girl is seen carrying a box of Cheerios to her white mother and then later goes to another room in the house to speak to her black father. At the time, only eight years ago, this innocent commercial ignited a barrage of negative and racist comments.
Why was there such a harsh reaction to seeing an interracial couple and their child?
Since 2010, when the US Census Bureau first started offering more than one racial category to identify self, the population of multiracial America has grown. This information is directly sourced from the recent 2020 US Census that reported approximately 33.8 million people self-identify as multiracial, meaning an identity of more than one race. This is a significant increase from the US Census of 2010 when only 9 million people of the US population identified as multiracial. The increase of a multiracial population over the past decade is significant and substantial. Certainly, this increase can be attributed to an increasingly racially diverse society, but it can also reflect the way in which Americans now self-identify and the options larger systems give to categorize people. It may also be an indicator that for many being multiracial is a source of pride. A 2015 Pew Research Center survey identified that 60% of multiracial adults were proud of their mixed-race ethnicity.
While much has changed in the past eight years, and there have been some recent efforts to promote and encourage racial diversity and representation, much of “who” and “what” is seen in mainstream society still does not represent the growing multiracial population. There is still a lack of interracial couples and families in commercials, advertisements or movies/films. The contrast between the images of society, versus the changing demographics of society, continue to dismiss and confuse the reality of many. Yet there is encouragement to be found in the statistics of a growing demographic, an increase in self-identification and a resounding pride in being seen as multiracial. With a growing racially diverse population, and a decrease in taboos regarding interracial marriage and families change in our society can be fostered.