Since we're in the vicinity of the Super Bowl, let's talk football to start things off. When Art Shell was hired as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, every story written about him had to include some variation of the line "the first black head coach in NFL history". Of course since then, there have been many more, but the next few black head coaches also had numbers associated with the....like the 2nd, or 5th to achieve that position. Doug Williams was the first (and so far only) black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. If Russell Wilson wins this Sunday with the Seahawks, I'm warning you right now that someone, somewhere will bring that fact up and dub Wilson number 2 on that list. I've heard plenty of people in the African-American community say that you'll be able to tell that 'we've' made it when you stop differentiating between black quarterbacks and quarterbacks in general. I think we're getting close to stopping the count, but we're not there yet.
The question of race was brought to mind after seeing a product that will be releasing a new commercial during the Super Bowl...Cheerios. About 9 months ago, Cheerios produced a commercial featuring a white mom, a black husband and a biracial little girl worried about her daddy's heart-health. At the time, the ad raised quite a stir because it had the nerve to reflect a significant part of our society. How significant? According to 2008 census data, 15% of all American families are classified as multi-racial or multi-ethnic. The people in our society that supported that ad far outweighed the closed-minded bigots that didn't like what it portrayed, so in the end it was a win for society and probably a win for free speech. Now they have another ad being released this weekend, and the simple fact that it's out there has made it into a story. There will be more to follow, either from Cheerios or from someone else. You can stop counting now.
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