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It's time America opens its heart to our differences

By BARBARA GONZALEZ- VENTURA, The Philippine STAR Published Jan 24, 2021 5:00 am

From 1984 to 1988 I lived in the US with my daughters. There I got to understand many things about American culture that I am grateful for.

Between my high school graduation and my first marriage I was in Switzerland and Spain. I also learned about cultures there. I learned that while we may have different languages and different colors, we are the same people with very similar problems.

Globally, every country has the rich, the poor and those in between called the middle class. Whatever your color is — pink (that’s more accurate than white, for me), brown or black — some are more intelligent than others. Every race has pacifists and activists. We just think we are different from each other but we are not. We just have not learned to open our hearts to one another.

When I turned 40, my first grandson was born. When the baby was 11 months old, my daughter carried him to me. “Mommy, please take care of him while I try to find myself,” she said.

At that time we were three women living together — my mother, another daughter and me. My mother and I were working. My daughter was in school. But we took the child anyway. Somehow we managed to arrange our schedules and took care of the baby.

Every race has pacifists and activists. We just think we are different from each other but we are not. We just have not learned to open our hearts to one another.

That experience opened my eyes to a major difference between the Philippines and the United States. At home, we could work and have babies. There were always yayas we could hire to take our place at home when we had to work. If we could not afford them, there were always relatives who could come live with us and help.

In the US, though, if you had a job, you had to think a lot before having a baby because you would have to take care of the baby by yourself and that could drive you crazy. 

This was in the 1980s. American feminists had burned their bras in the 1970s. I didn’t understand why they did that. But when I lived there, taking care of my grandson, I understood the problem of American women.

Look how far they have come! In the 1980s there was the glass ceiling for women, who didn’t get paid as much as men, and could not get promoted to senior positions.

Now their Vice President is Kamala Harris, a beautiful brown woman with South Asian blood. Their new President is Joe Biden, who is the one person they need at this time. He preaches unity, honesty, humility. We are not separated by our differences, he says, but we must learn to open our hearts to our differences.

Many people in the US have narrow views. They forget that when Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, it was already owned by what they called the “Indians.” Maybe that was a word they used for all brown people.

Magellan called us indios, Spanish for Indians. Did the pink conquerors respect the original owners of the land? No, they fought them and took away their property, ridiculed their culture. The “Indians” until now are downtrodden.

When you examine world history, you find a lot of hate. I like Joe Biden who talks about the soul of America. Part of that soul is variety.

Then slavery came around. The pinks went to Africa, rounded up poor black people, brought them to the USA and sold them as slaves. For centuries the pinks treated them badly until the Civil War.

What am I talking about? Until now, they are mostly downtrodden except for a growing number who are the result of intermarriage among the blacks and the pinks. How do you know they are the result of intermarriage? You can tell by their features. They are not totally black, many are golden brown. Their lips are thinner. Some even have light eyes. 

Look at my crush, newscaster Lester Holt. And Don Lemon. Somewhere in their ancestry is a mixture of white and black. How handsome they are!

But in Houston, Texas, the Ku Klux Klan exists and believes that the people they call “white” should stay Pink. They ignore what they have done to the Indians and the blacks. Once a year, the Klan holds a main street “hate parade.” They wear their white bedsheets and pillowcases and flaunt their hate lists. They hate blacks, Jews, Asians, gays and lesbians.

When you examine world history, you find a lot of hate. I like Joe Biden who talks about the soul of America. Part of that soul is variety. That’s why I like his new policy on immigration. Let the 11 million immigrants who are there, who have intermarried and continue to change the faces of the different races, let them become American citizens. 

One day, a long time away, Americans will wake up and find they have outgrown their freckles and spots, the speckled pink of what they call “white.” They have all become a beautiful golden brown.

Remember the joke about Jesus baking cookies? The first batch was underbaked. Those were the white guys. The next batch got scorched. Those were the black guys. Finally the third batch was baked to a beautiful golden brown. Those were the Filipinos.