Spork

I was born a spork at a time “when forks were forks and spoons were spoons. Cutlery customs were followed closely. Mixing was uncommon.”

On the odd occasion that I encountered another spork, we might tip our short tines in recognition. If we found an opportunity to chat, it was often the case that conversation flowed freely.

No matter how diverse our backgrounds, what I quickly discovered was that sporks tend to share remarkably similar experiences – foremost being the experience of not fully belonging in the culture of either parent. With minor variations, the stories we exchange have consistent themes. There are recurring stories about the pressure to “pass,” that is, to identify as one thing to the exclusion of another; funny stories about category confusion (generated, in some cases, by something as simple as a change of hairstyle or apparel); and inspiring stories about the pleasures that arise when household cultural traditions mingle and merge (in my own case, fond memories of sushi served alongside shepherd’s pie).

The terrain has changed considerably since I was a child. Today, in my downtown Toronto neighborhood, blended families are more prevalent. In the Japanese Canadian community, the rate of interracial marriage has reached 95 per cent, surpassing any other ethnic group in Canada.

That’s a large population of sporks in the making.

While some individuals may still identify themselves as members of one group or another (socialized perhaps by appearance, their parents, or perceived racism), and while others may switch their declarations at different times in their lives, many are proudly proclaiming their multiracial heritage.

This book was conceived as a celebration of hybridity, an ode to a non-binary world. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

To pur­chase Spork by Kyo Maclear, please visit your local inde­pen­dent book­seller, or order online from Kids Can Press.