Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why Are Destiny And Faith Biracial?

A few days ago a fan asked me the million dollar question. Okay, maybe it's not a million dollar question, but it's definitely one worth answering. 

Why are Destiny and Faith biracial?

I could answer this in many ways. I choose this one.

I was eight. I wasn't popular. Most of the kids didn't even notice my existence. I still remember the day clearly in my head.

"We're going to be having a new student tomorrow. Her name is Hope. She is going to sit next to Teddy.

I tried to picture Hope in my head. Another kid who would be mean to me. Another kid who would refuse to acknowledge my existence. Another kid who would make fast friends with all the popular kids. Another kid who wouldn't like me.

The next day came and I got to meet my new seat mate.

"Hi, I'm hope," she informed me.

"I'm Teddy," I responded shyly.

She didn't stop talking to me after that. We talked more and more every day, until the teacher eventually separated us. I was never in trouble in class until Hope came along, but I had never had a true friend either.

We spent each recess together, began going back and forth to each other's houses, and were bullied together. For different reasons, though.

I was the weird kid. Hope was biracial. Her mom was white and her dad was black. Due to her race, Hope spent a lot of time being caught in the middle. She wasn't quite white enough...or quite black enough. She was forced to choose role models who were outside her "race".

We spent a lot of time writing and drawing. I would illustrate her stories, and we would dream up new ideas together. One of these ideas would be Fillie and Lillie, the inspirations behind Destiny and Faith.

We talked about the twins a lot. When we were eighteen I realized that I needed to settle on a look if I was every going to publish a book about them. We mulled over a couple different options. 

"I want to make them biracial," I decided.

"Are you sure?" Hope asked.

"Yeah, I want to make them biracial like you. I want biracial kids to have role models. And be able to read books about other biracial kids. The book doesn't have to be about being biracial."

"It might be controversial," Hope warned me.

"That's okay," I told her.

And that is the short story behind why Destiny and Faith are biracial. 

Because biracial kids need role models too. 

Because not every main character has to be white, or even black. 

Because biracial children do exist. In fact, there are lots of them.

Because even if you're not biracial, you can still read about and have fun with biracial characters.

Because they just are.

Faith rocks her natural curls.