I have such a love-hate relationship with television. This commercial is funny. It made me laugh. The commercial as a light-hearted ad was effective and cute. But what about it as a social statement? Really, every television commercial is a statement about mainstream norms, habits and mind-sets. This is especially true for Super-bowl commercials. These commercials are heavy investments for the companies that buy that premium time. They are considered the cream of the crop. A lot of time and ad- firm research and effort goes into making them. They are designed to appeal to everyone, at least on some level.
In light of that, what statements does this commercial make? What norms does it assume and bank on?Well, it’s pretty clear– stereotypic objectified single Black mother; over-sexed single Black man; violent and confrontational little Black boy. We are comfortable with the messages and the images of single-parenthood, Black womanhood and bad Black boys. And we relate to them… on some level. But the scene perpetuates some generally accepted assumptions that don’t help us in the real world. So just as a reminder to reset our perspective buttons on at least one issue, here are the facts about single parents:
There are over 13 million single parents, according to the U.S. Census.
These parents are raising 21.2 million children.
The average single parent is a mother, as 84% of custodial parents are women.
Contrary to the common perception perpetuated in the media (though thankfully not in this commercial), the average single parent is employed and not on public assistance.
She and her children do NOT live in poverty.( Although a large number do at 27.7%.)
The average single mother is NOT Black. There were 3.1 million Black single mothers compared to 6.4 White, according to the 2003 census.
Most single mothers are raising one child (56%).
The majority of single mothers are single as a result of divorce (44%), as compared to never married (33%).