The black and white of it
Rainbow families were once taboo - a blight on society that prompted distain and disgust. A “half-caste” child was frowned upon by both of their blood lines.
These were lesser citizens who allegedly did not affiliate with either of their cultural backgrounds.
The essence of a family is not determined by their genetic disposition, but rather the love that binds them
A friend of mine is currently contemplating adopting two young girls from a third-world nation who are mixed-race. Sadly, even today, the girls are not accepted openly in their home village and have been neglected as a result.
My friend already has two of her own biological children. Her entire family are Caucasian. She told me the idea of raising children of a different race had provoked a lot of inner reflection and surprisingly a lot of uncertainty.
“Could I? Should I? What would people think? Are we really a progressive, unprejudiced society?” she asked.
I wanted to say, “Yes. Of course we are.” But my Caucasian aunt who raises her own biological children of Indian decent, would say “absolutely not”.
She has received sideways glances in public when out with her children and has been asked absurd questions like, “You must feel like they don’t belong to you, because they don’t even look like you?”
She has blonde hair and blue eyes.
“Their teachers get a shock when they meet me for the first time. They are expecting to see an Indian woman,” she laughs.
“Look at Brad and Angelina. They have children who don’t look like them. Do they have to explain themselves to anyone?”
Many years ago I wrote a news story on a Queensland couple who adopted seven children from three different countries. The husband and wife were Caucasian and their children were varying shades.
Over the course of writing a series of feature articles I became good friends with this dynamic family. I learned a lot about closing the race divide, acceptance and unconditional love.
It was my first up-close experience of the age-old mantra “families come in all shapes and sizes”.
They weren’t rich in monetary terms but they sure boasted a wealth of love, generosity of heart and could teach us all a thing or two about unity.
In addition, I recently had a liberating discussion on mixed-race unions that I hoped was more the norm than the exception.
“I prefer to date white women,” said the Asian male.
“I prefer to date Asian women,” said the white male.
“I prefer to date black men,” said the white female.
I love that I live in a world where mixed race relationships are considered no big deal – at least in the circles I frequent. I have mentioned before that my extended family consists of Lebanese, Indian and Italian blood lines.
Family Christmases are colourful for more reasons than just the tinsel.
I’d like to think I encourage the embrace of other cultures - the richness, the diversity, the growth that is to be gained from drawing on the multiplicity of our global village is immeasurable.
The essence of a family is not determined by their genetic disposition, but rather the love that binds them.
But is the increase in rainbow families really closing the cultural divide and helping to dispel those archaic and damaging assumptions, or are they still hidden under the surface of our social fabric?