|More than ever, people come from mixed backgrounds—|
you can't assume that what you see is what you get.
I've talked in detail before about what it was like to grow up not looking as much like the rest of my family, not really looking Polynesian save in my body figure and not skin or hair color. Also, how much I actually wished I had black hair and dark skin as a child, which is odd but very true because I wanted to look like my family and ancestors. (You can read about that here and here.)
The bottom line is, we need more books that reflect our diverse world and all the people that live in it. For a long time I thought this was an obvious fact and one that everyone agreed with and was striving for. But unfortunately I've learned, through trying to publish diverse novels, that's not exactly the case. A campaign like this is needed. Desperately.
Race is a weird thing in the US. Even the rest of the world often seems bewildered by how fixated on it we remain. I'm not sure of all the reasons, but the more I learn from my international family the more I tend to agree.
|Me and my littlest sister—my only sibling still here in America|
and not in New Zealand.
But did you know it doesn't work like that in some countries? I was so surprised when my brother went down to New Zealand for med school, and the way they determined Maori scholarships was not on percentage (many Native American tribes have a cut off like 1/8th to 1/16th and the like), but based on LINEAGE. If you had genealogical proof that you are descended from a Maori tribe (we're Nga Puhi), then you qualified to apply for a "Maori scholarship."
That might seem like a subtle thing, but to someone like me, a white-passer, that one concept—basing race on lineage—was a huge and heart-warming concept. I so very rarely feel included in my culture, but the moment I heard that, I DID. I felt entirely included because I could have walked in there and given my lineage no problem, and it wouldn't have mattered what I looked like.
|The awesome ladies of my family, before my sister (in the pink)|
left the US to go live with her husband in New Zealand.
So join the campaign!
No matter who you are, YOU are welcome.