Biracial Bandit’s Kiani Ferris on Accessibility, White Feminism and Awesome Alliteration

By Emma May

Zines and accessibility:

I like zine making because in Seattle, where I am from, zines were a very much an important culture. I love how accessible they are. When I grew up, I didn’t have a lot of money, I didn’t have access to art and other things of that nature. Zines, on the other hand, are cheap and accessible. They are everywhere. I like the idea of accessibility, and the idea that we can communicate complex ideas in a way that is easily available to many different people.

Zines in the Age of Online Activism:

I think there is a difference between learning and sharing things online and reading it on paper. The Internet is amazing and accessible, yet you need a computer and wifi. There’s something special about holding a piece of paper that someone put time and effort into copying, stapling and sewing. I feel like it’s a lot more personal. Someone took the time to copy, paste and fold it.

Beginnings of Biracial Bandit:

I coined the phrase Biracial Bandit last year. It is a compilation of youth-created art and poetry. It is a submission-based zine. I contacted multiracial youth, who then their submitted art, poetry, photographs. I have always been very passionate about my ethnicity and my identity. I wanted some sort of catchy phrase that I could identify with. I made some patches with the phrase. I really liked it and identified with it. I also really like alliterations [laughs]. Biracial Bandit spawned from that.

Race within the DIY community:

I feel like when I go to zine fairs or DIY shows it’s mostly cis, white men. There are so many white people. White feminism and white feminist zines are very much a phenomenon right now. I went to the New York Art Book Fair the other day, although in some aspects it was somewhat diverse, it was mostly just a ton of white people in Doc Martens. In creating the zine, I wanted to create an outlet for representation for multiracial youth. When I started asking for submissions, everyone was so glad that there was something going on like this for youth of color. I really think it shows that we need more outlets for youth with marginalized identities.

The larger purpose of Biracial Bandit:

Being biracial has been a huge part of my life. I haven’t really fit into either White or Asian labels. That always upset me, although I am still very passionate about my multiple identities. I look different. People ask me questions that they normally don’t ask other people just based on my appearance. It’s confusing to them. It doesn’t bother me when people ask me what I am. I know I look confusing and I love to talk about it. I started the zine Biracial Bandit because I knew a lot of multiracial kids my age that wanted a platform of expression. They are all so amazing. I wanted to make a zine that celebrates that. I know there are a lot of multiracial people and there is probably a zine about them, but I haven’t seen it yet so I decided to make my own.

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