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1 box of cereal, 1 step forward for biracial kids

Last month, a white father in Virginia was questioned by a police officer and accused of kidnapping his three biracial girls when a customer at Wal-Mart grew concerned that the family didn’t “match up.”

This month, General Mills was forced to shut down the comments section of its YouTube page for a Cheerios ad that features a biracial little girl, her white mother and black father because some of the viewers’ comments referred to Nazis, troglodytes and racial genocide.

“It’s 2013 and people are still getting worked up about interracial couples in ads,” AdWeek wrote. “At what point will an ad like this just seem normal?”

It's been 46 years since Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, convinced the Supreme Court to end race-based marriage restrictions in America.

How does a mixed-race child pouring cereal still generate such venom? (Or does it? I’m convinced the same five rabid racists are populating the Internet with vile thoughts on YouTube and The Miami Herald comments sections because they have nothing else to do.)

These days, mixed-race babies account for 7 percent of the kids born to American moms every year. (One of them is in the White House now.)

About 15 percent of new marriages in 2010 crossed racial or ethnic lines, double the rate from three decades ago, a new study by the Pew Research Center shows.

The share of whites who marry “out” of their race has more than doubled since 1980, to 9 percent. The percentage of blacks who marry non-blacks has more than tripled, to 17 percent. Asians and Hispanics have the highest rates of intermarriage, with more than a quarter of all Asian newlyweds marrying a non-Asian.

Our society has come a long way, and we need to acknowledge that, even if it’s just for a few minutes on TV.

Why? Because showing a mixed-race couple or child in a commercial is a nod of acceptance to the millions of Americans who are in interracial relationships or, more profoundly, the 9 million people in the 2010 Census who reported that they are more than one race.

Not to mention the 86 percent of us who think that intermarriage is a good thing for our country.

To some people, it may be just a 30-second marketing pitch. But for me, it means we’re one commercial closer to eating our cereal in peace and not having to worry about matching our kids.