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Is Blood Really Thicker Than Water? What It’s Like Reuniting With Estranged Family

Blood is thicker than water is a statement that many of us have heard. It’s said to emphasise the importance of having relationships with those who share the same genes and/or blood as you.

The concept of family has great importance. When I say ‘family’, I, as we all do, centre the nuclear family: father, mother and their children. But I am also considering extended family as well – our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Whether it be on the African continent or across the diaspora, family is emphasised amongst Black communities. That’s not to say other races don’t, but like many things in life, Black people, just do it differently. Family? We take it seriously.

One can assume there is a historical context of family separation and how and why families in the Black community experience separation. The first that will come to mind for many is slavery.

The transatlantic slave trade resulted in the separation of millions of Africans from their families in their homeland and then separated further across the Americas. One can go further thinking about how the enslaved, the family they created throughout this traumatic experience were once again separated through the process of being bought and sold.