Double Take

Even with twins, concepts of race are not always black and white.

Ethnicity and culture will always be real, but the concept of race is not that straightforward. In America, there are some truths to face. We can start by facing a history many people are still too ashamed to talk about directly: slavery, miscegenation, class, caste and rape. Any American that looks at two siblings of different colors and is confused doesn’t just reveal their ignorance of race, they show their lack of understanding of the history of this country, and where their own story fits into it.

It would have been very easy for me to just give in and play along with the twin delusion, too.

Contact some smarmy tabloid and put my whole family on parade. Maybe get a nice little check out of the deal, as well. It would have probably been enough for an evening on the town with my husband. (And what new parents don’t need that?) But I wouldn’t even do that for Knox and Viv photo-shoot money. As for the other parents with twins much like mine who chose to go public with them, despite the fact that all of these babies are obviously of mixed ancestry, I try not to be too judgmental.

I just hope that when the lights go down and the reporters go home, that the show is really over. That the novelty of these twins doesn’t overshadow the more mundane reality beneath the surface. And that those parents of unmatching twinsets—and the rest of us—don’t really believe the fantasy that “black and white twins” peddles in. Every set of so-called “miracle twins” is a blatant but beautiful reminder that the concept of “black” and “white” is still a gray area.

Meera Bowman-Johnson is a writer who recently left upstate New York for Houston, Texas, with her husband, Mat Johnson, and their five-piece family band.