Diversity, America and My Christmas Vacation

I just returned from spending Christmas with my family. Spending the holidays with my family is an exercise in tolerance and diversity. I am the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Methodist father. I was raised celebrating both sets of holidays and believing in one God – the Judeo-Christian God. My sister married a wonderful black man who through hard work and discipline escaped his inner-city youth. They have two wonderful boys who are crazy smart, athletically gifted and gosh darn cute. My cousin is married to a sweet gentle woman who is from China and immigrated to the United States as an adult and is also a Buddhist. My Uncle has been married for over thirty years to a wonderful Hispanic woman and they have three boys ( my cousins).

I had a wonderful holiday vacation. I say “holiday” because to say “Christmas” in my house would be excluding some people. I have sweet pictures of my son with his yarmulke lighting the Hanukkah candles and wonderful pictures of my kids tearing open Christmas presents. We ate prime rib and potato latkes for Christmas dinner.

Most people are amazed when I tell them about my own personal “rainbow coalition” but I often wonder is that not really the American dream. Aren’t we a “melting pot”? Isn’t the purpose of America to come together, to celebrate our diversity, to “melt” into one another? Shouldn’t more American families look like mine? What good comes from us only being with other people that are like ourselves? What are we so afraid of?

Is it easy to squeeze all those different types of cultures and beliefs in one family? No. We have our conflicts but I think we all feel we are more understanding, more tolerant, more supportive and overall better people for having this type of diversity in our family. Why, after all these years aren’t there more families like ours? and is this going to be the norm in the future? I sure hope so.

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