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Family beyond blood

“The family is one of nature's masterpieces."

—George Santayana, Spanish-American philosopher, poet and humanist, 1863-1952

In today’s world marred by hypocrisy, war and injustice, we are faced with opportunities to meet certain people or situations that can become obstacles to our pursuit for a happier, more content life. In troubled times like this, we can only rely on our kin for loyal support and unconditional love.

Back in grade school, we were taught that a family is a small group of people bound by the same blood running through their veins. Our teachers showed us pictures of a mommy and a daddy with children who had the same facial features. Along with this lesson, we were introduced to the many races of the world as well as our differences that set us apart from them.

Filipinos: Diversity Personified
Let’s take our country’s history in consideration. In the Philippines , ever since the Chinese started trading with us back in the pre-colonial era, from the Spanish colonization to the American regime until now, we have been exposed to a number of cultures which make up our currently very colorful way of life. We have grown accustomed to various cultural influences, beliefs, principles, and customs. Our past directly affected our physical appearance, our spiritual and mental makeup, our emotional sensibilities and the like. Because of our background, as a nation, we are not inclined to discrimination.

Racial Prejudice: An Old School Tradition
In other countries, although through time more people are becoming more comfortable with the idea, the blending of the races is still looked upon with a skeptical eye. We look at our television screens in awe at Angelina Jolie’s growing brood of assorted ancestry and wonder, “does it really work, caring for a child not your own?” When we see an African-American man with a Caucasian woman, people still look, comment and sometimes silently disapprove. No amount of cultural evolution or modernized morals can change the fact that when two people of different backgrounds are united, regardless of romance, intelligence or level of liberalism, it still doesn’t quite add up for some who haven’t outgrown their traditionalist ways.

To Filipinos, a person’s worth goes beyond the color of one’s skin or the number of peso bills in one’s pocket. As long as you live in the Philippines and enjoy being here, you can be called a Filipino. Kahit sino, pwede maging Pinoy! Take a look around and you will see the many different faces of various types of people who have considered our country their new home.

Welcome to the Philippines , where everybody is welcome to be part of a family. In a place where the concept of family is top priority and love is free-for-all, whether or not you’re a Dela Cruz or a Lee or a Johnson or a Panemanglor does not really matter. A family that lives in harmony and love despite their obvious differences is still a family in the end.

Diversity in Family: A Step Closer to a United World
Due to unbearable living conditions some may have experienced alongside the ever-present poverty line, many of our fellow Filipinos have opted to leave the motherland to seek a better life on the other side of the white picket fence. However, they still bring with them their Filipino sentimentality: you can take the Filipino out of the Philippines , but you can’t take the Philippines out of the Filipino. Wherever they decide to go, whether for work or to raise a family, they still hold in their hearts the same high regard they have for their loved ones.

Today, armed with the quick solution of immigration and inter-racial marriage to escape the hard life, Filipino immigrants abroad are actually taking us a step further to close the racial gap between nations. Parents of an inter-racial family are inclined to value the importance of uniqueness and diversity as well as the beauty in people of all races, shapes and sizes. The child born from an inter-racial marriage exudes a stronger sense of self with a heightened appreciation for different cultures.

In a world marked by ethnic boundaries, multi-racial families provide convincing evidence that races can co-exist, not only in the same town or country but in the same home. It strengthens the age-old belief that we are all brothers and sisters, stemming from the same family tree. It takes the future of a united world from the dark corners of our dreams and actually brings it into the light of a possible reality.

(Winner, 3rd Place, Campus Journalism Awards 2008 under the Features Writing - English category)