America’s Changing Families

By Joseph Rendeiro, Media Relations Associate, NCLR

Hands on a globe

When my parents and my grandparents emigrated to this country about half a century ago, they, like many other new immigrants, ended up settling into a community of mostly newcomers from their home country. They lived in a predominantly Portuguese enclave of the city, where Portuguese girls often ended up marrying Portuguese boys and continued producing Portuguese babies. This really isn’t unique to just them. The idea that America has always been this melting pot is somewhat flawed, when you consider that, for decades, a lot of communities self-segregated.

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But as a twenty-five year old, I can see this melting pot idea becoming a reality for my generation. The defined rules for who you can and cannot love have been changed for the better. All around me, I see more families of mixed race and mixed religions, with two dads and two moms, which only add to the beautiful quilt of families that this nation has already been blessed with.

And I don’t have to look farther than my own backyard for proof of these changes. My sister is in a loving relationship that has produced two beautiful half-black, half-white identical twin girls. And I hope to one day follow in her footsteps by finding my own husband with whom I can start a family. We are probably not the family my parents envisioned we would grow into, and I don’t doubt that they have often thought it would be easier  for their kids if their daughter found a good Portuguese boy or if their son wasn’t looking for a good Portuguese boy. But this is the family we have, and they continue to be supportive and loving parents.

Unfortunately, not everybody in America has caught up to the times. The simple act of putting a mixed-race family in a Cheerios commercial drew enough hateful responses that the company was forced to take down the comments section of their Youtube video. It shows we still have a long road to walk. But to those people who used the anonymity of their computers to spew hateful and bigoted nonsense, I have a question: as my generation grows older, who do you think is going to become the black sheep of the family—the lesbian cousin and the grandson who brought home a *gasp* Indian girlfriend or will it be the family members who can’t see beyond their prejudice? Watch the commercial below.

At NCLR, we believe that Familia es Familia—Family is Family. It doesn’t matter whether you have one Jewish Cuban dad and one Native American dad along with an adopted sister from the Netherlands or if you come from the most traditional household, complete with a white picket fence. Love is what defines a family, not the color of your skin or the God that you pray to.

We’re proud of Cheerios and General Mills for not only showcasing diversity, but also not backing down to bigots. America IS becoming the melting pot that it has always been billed as, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

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