James and Daniel Kelly are about as different as two teenage boys can be.
They are not only different in terms of colour, with James being black and Daniel being white, but in personality too: whereas James is a gay, social butterfly on a trajectory to post-secondary education, Daniel’s a straight, shy male who doesn’t mix well with school. Yet, in spite of all these differences, these teens are actually brothers, and not the type of brother you’ll call a friend or an adopted brother.
James and Daniel Kelly are biological twins.
How might having a twin who appears to be of another race be possible? The boys’ parents, Alyson and Errol Kelly are an interracial couple—Errol is of Caribbean descent.
Dr. Jim Wilson, a population geneticist of Edinburgh University, told the Guardian that although Errol may appear black, Caribbeans are often found to carry European DNA.
“The Caribbean father will have less European DNA than African DNA, so it’s more likely he’ll pass on African DNA—but rarely, and I’ve worked it out to be around one in 500 sets of twins where there’s a couple of this genetic mix, the father will pass on a lot of European DNA to one child and mostly African DNA to the other. The result will be one white child and one black.”
“They were chalk and cheese, right from the word go,” Alyson said of her sons. “It was hard to believe they were even brothers, let alone twins.”
Although James and Daniel hang out in different crowds, they’ll still make time to go out together. “It’s good fun, because we can be drinking in a bar and someone will come along for a chat who doesn’t know we’re twins. And of course they never suspect and then someone else will say, ‘Hey, do you know James and Daniel are brothers?'” James told the Guardian. “And people never, ever believe it—they always think it’s a wind-up.”
“Sometimes we even get people who say: ‘I don’t believe you! Prove it!'” added Daniel, laughing. “But we don’t care whether they believe it or not anyway—we know it’s true.”
James and Daniel have different skin tones, sexualities, and interests, but they’re still brothers. If you’d look back a few decades ago, two people like this wouldn’t even be friends, but in this present day, they’re brothers. The world isn’t just black and white anymore. Rather, it’s a world of all colours.
Brandon Woo is a happy high school student in Vancouver, BC. In working with Schema, he hopes to educate others about current events and learn more about the world around him too.