When Robbie first told me that he considered our family to be Amerigrants (American + immigrants), I objected.
“You’re the only one who’s ever been overseas,” I reminded him. “Maybe we’re The Amerigrant & Mrs. Grayson, like an 80s spy flick.”
“No, think about it,” Robbie said. “It’s not just about my experiences. As a family, we make friends with people from all over the world. We listen to them and learn from their perspectives. We read international books and watch international movies. I think that makes us global. We’re not just Americans from America who think only like Americans.”
That’s true. And it made me think of something else true about our family: we’re diverse. I still want to get one of those DNA tests that tell you about your genetic heritage. But from what I know through family history, I’ve got French, English, Scots-Irish, and German in me. Robbie’s got African, Cherokee, and German in him. So our family is a melting pot just by existing.
Add to that the fact that we open our doors and welcome Native Americans as well as people from China, Iraq, Colombia, Italy, Mongolia, England, Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Mongolia, South Africa, Sweden, Jordan, and Israel, and we do have the benefit of eyes and hearts all over the world. We love our global friends. How can their perspective not change us and influence us?
One more thing: we reject fundamentalism of any kind. We were both raised in communities that saw the world only in black and white. We observed a lot of fear and dislike in those fundamentalist communities. We believe that the shades of gray in the world are beautiful and that people who are not like us are valuable and necessary to us.
So between our global heritage and our global community, yes – we are Amerigrants. And our family shows what the future will be. More Americans in the coming generations will marry interracially if trends hold, and the presence of fast transit and immediate Internet connection means that more Americans will form international bonds.
Showing you our family means showing you the future. It’s a good life, one we can embrace and celebrate, not fear.
So here we show you Amerigrants in Gray: An American Family Portrait in Black, White, and Gray.