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America's racist trolls are eating well these days. Less than a week after clothing retailer Old Navy got torn apart on Twitter for featuring an interracial couple in an online advertisement, Macy's is facing similar backlash for an ad the company ran on Sunday.
The Macy's spot features a black woman and a white man on what appears to be their wedding day. They are gazing into each other's eyes, smiling — and boiling the blood of scores of Twitter racists in the process:
In an era when many brands are making an effort to show more racially diverse families in their ads, the mentions on this tweet are a sad sight to behold.
They express a troubling mix of shock, contempt, disgust and accusations ranging from "white genocide" to "bestiality" — suggesting just how controversial the notion that people of different races might develop romantic attachments to each other still is for some Americans.
It's important to note these comments do not represent the views of most Americans. A 2013 Gallup poll found that 87% of people in the US approve of marriages between black and white people, compared with just 4% in 1958, the first year Gallup took the poll.
But an undeniable trend emerges whenever interracial couples appear in advertisements. In 2013, Cheerios ran a now-infamous TV commercial featuring a black man, a white woman and their young daughter eating cereal at a breakfast table. Backlash against the YouTube video was so vitriolic that comments on the video had to be disabled.
An op-ed for Talking Points Memo speculated at the time that the hate directed at this particular ad was because it depicted a black man with a white woman — a union that's led to its share of violence and controversy throughout American history, in the form of lynchings and a proliferation of ugly media-perpetuated stereotypes about black men, among other things.
But both the recent Old Navy ad and Sunday's Macy's ad feature black women with white men — and the hate levels from commenters are still holding steady.
So what's the real answer? On the one hand, there seems to be a genuine hunger for this kind of programming. A recent study from Baby Center and the market research firm YouGov surveyed 2,000 Americans and found that 80% want to see more diverse families in ads, while 66% said brands that showed a "reverence" for different kinds of families influence their buying habits, according to CNBC.
But as backlash against such ads continue to make headlines, racism baring its teeth seems an unavoidable consequence of embracing media diversity. We still have a long way to go.