Corn Pops cereal boxes are getting a hasty makeover after a customer noticed that the current packaging makes incredibly racist assumptions about the occupations of darker-skinned people. Right now, the back panel of Kellogg’s beloved puffy cereal has a scene depicting some kind of mall theme — cartoon corn pops just chillin’ at the local shopping mall, like everybody does these days. To be completely honest, the Where’s Waldo–y theme makes very little sense: None of the characters are carrying shopping bags, and nearly all of them qualify as some sort of public menace, either because they’re snorkeling in the water fountain, playing hockey (with a fellow corn pop as the puck!), stilt-walking on spoons, or preparing to drop large objects on passersby below.
But the scene was drawn for kids who think rule-breaking is hilarious, and that’s what bothered Marvel Comics writer Saladin Ahmed, who brought the panel to Kellogg’s attention yesterday on Twitter.
Ahmed didn’t appreciate how all of Kellogg’s mallgoers are corn-pop yellow except for a solitary brown one. It’s shown waxing the floors, as opposed to having fun, because it’s the mall’s janitor. Ahmed scolded the company for being so boneheaded, arguing that its cereal-box scene “is teaching kids racism.” He explained its subliminal effect in a subsequent post:
To the cereal-maker’s credit, Ahmed also noted, it responded to his tweet in about five hours, promising that the offending image is being replaced with something more racially sensitive:
A spokesperson followed up with a statement to USA Today stressing their “commitment to diversity and inclusion,” and saying that the “artwork has been updated and will begin to appear on store shelves soon as it flows through distribution.”