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Tell Kraft to Stop Using Stereotypes about Multiracial People
  • Petitioned Kraft Foods Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld

This petition was delivered to:

Kraft Foods Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld

Tell Kraft to Stop Using Stereotypes about Multiracial People

    1. Michelle Parrinello-Cason
    2. Petition by

      Michelle Parrinello-Cason

      St. Louis, MO

 Media Messages Matter

Many people say, "It's just a commercial," but the truth is that we watch a lot of commercials. We watch a lot of television and movies. We listen to a lot of songs. We see a lot of magazine ads. The fact of the matter is that media matters. Our brains take in information from these messages, and that information impacts the way that we view the world around us. When we see messages that demean and stereotype, they impact our culture in very real ways. 

 

Mel the MilkBite

Kraft's campaign for Mel the MilkBite is unacceptable. In this campaign, Kraft has created a human-like version of their new product, the MilkBite that is part granola, part milk. In a series of commercials, Kraft compares these two parts of Mel to races. 

In the commercial "Parents," Mel confronts his parents (a bowl of granola and a glass of milk) and accuses them of not thinking when they decided to give birth to him. This commercial suggests that parents of multiracial children are irresponsible and do not have their children's well being in mind. This is a cruel accusation that is often used as an argument against interracial relationships. It is insulting to parents of multiracial children who, of course, love their children and want for them to grow up with healthy senses of identity.

In the commercial "Blind Date," Mel goes on a date with a white woman. She asks him why he looks like granola when his profile said he was milk. By showing Mel as activey hiding his granola background (the brown part of his heritage), the commercial sends the message that the white part of his heritage (milk) is superior. This perpetuates myths that people of mixed racial heritage need to "choose a side" and are unable to embrace multiple parts of their cultural identities. Finally, the white woman who is on the date with Mel calls out "I'm kind of into it" as he walks away, which feeds into a long history of exoticising people of color in ways that do not appreciate them as full individuals but instead reduces them to their difference.  

A series of other commercials, including one where Mel rants about how unnecessary a Spork is because there's no need to mix two perfectly good things and one where Mel says that blonde is better than all other hair colors, all send the message that having a mixed racial background is a flaw. This campaign is socially irresponsible and insulting. 

 

We Live in an Increasingly Diverse Society

This message is unacceptable. We live in a country with a rapidly growing group of multiracial people and interracial couples. The 2010 Census showed a 28% jump in interracial marriages among opposite-sex couples, with one in 10 couples now identifying this way. In addition, 21% of same-sex couples are interracial (1). 

The number of people who identify as multiracial is also growing rapidly. 4.2 million Americans identify this way, a 50% increase since 2000. Of this group, the number of people who identify as both black and white has jumped 134 percent since 2000, now numbering 1.8 million (2). 

In addition, the person in office in the highest position in America, the President of the United States, is of multiracial heritage. 

As our country becomes increasingly diverse, we cannot afford to continue sending forth these damaging and insensitive messages about race and identity. 

 

It's Our Responsibility to Hold Companies Accountable

Please, tell Kraft to stop this campaign and consider the impact of their messages more carefully for any future advertising. 

It is our responsibility to hold companies accountable for the messages they send, and this message is a damaging one. 

 

1- Jayson, Sharon. "Households With Partners of a Different Race." USA Today. .

 

2- Saulny, Susan. "Census Data Presents Rise in Multiracial Populations of Youth." New York Times. . 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Using Stereotypes to Gain Publicity? The KRAFT MilkBite Plot Thickens.

      Michelle Parrinello-Cason
      Petition Organizer

      It turns out this isn't the first time that Kraft teamed up with ad company Droga5 to intentionally stir up controversy over painful stereotypes for publicity. Let them know that consumers won't tolerate a company that has no sense of responsibility for the culture its ads help create.

    2. Reached 250 signatures
    3. Facebook and Twitter Campaign

      Michelle Parrinello-Cason
      Petition Organizer

      Kraft has continued to ignore our concerns, so we're taking action! We've started a Facebook page for people to share their concerns over the damaging messages Mel's portrayal sends.

      Tweet @kraftfoods using #TragicMel to tell them that you find this campaign unacceptable.

      Like our group "Kraft Milkbite: Say No to #TragicMel" on Facebook and share your concerns with Kraft.

    4. What will YOU do?

      Michelle Parrinello-Cason
      Petition Organizer

      Project RACE advocates for multiracial identity, and they ask what will you do to ensure Kraft is held accountable for the damaging stereotypes they're sending about multiracial people.

    5. "Biracial is Bad": How KRAFT's Milkbites Campaign Perpetuates Stereotypes

      Michelle Parrinello-Cason
      Petition Organizer

      Multicultural Familia shares this analysis of the commercials and how the MilkBite campaign portrays multiracial people as damaged and unable to function in society.

    6. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Marissa Strang WOODBRIDGE, VA
      • over 2 years ago

      The commercials are offensive to me, part white and part black.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Olivia Holmes NEW YORK, NY
      • over 2 years ago

      Unacceptable! I am biracial and proud. The implications of this commercial are horrible.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Paula Harris CHICAGO, IL
      • over 2 years ago

      this is blatant racism. mainstream media once again is sending the message hat multiracial people are 'tragic' and 'troubled'. the only thing that is tragic is the racist message Kraft is sending - upholding an old, tired stereotype of the 'tragic mulatto'.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dex Jackson LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 2 years ago

      "You didn't think...did you? You didn't think what life was going to be about for me?"

      "You know, I know exactly how he feels... because I'm part milk and part granola. [...] Right, and I was born in this prison"

      -- "Mel", MilkBite adverts.

      This coming from a company that acquired the chocolate brand that gave us a "a glass and half of milk" and epitomized decent, delicious chocolate-making.

      Disgusting. Just disgusting.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joann Weersing TEMECULA, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      it's not okay to portray multiracial people as inferior to people of one ethnic background

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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