…because according to some commenters, apparently, it isn’t. Suddenly there are commentS about hot Desi girls choosing white guys over their own– and I emphasize the plural aspect of “comment”, because that’s what caught my attention– this wasn’t some one-off virtual rant. Frankly, Mr. Shankly, I’m shocked. While some of the people who are leaving the eyebrow-raising statements seem to be new, I’m fully aware that the normal pattern of Sepia engagement is:
Random Googling –> Sepia? What the-? –> Hmmm, interesting –> Lurking –> and then finally, posting.
If these anti-miscegenation fans have followed that tried-and-true process, then they’d be aware that there are more than a few members of the Mutiny community who are the products of interracial unions; I can’t imagine that they’d be so tactless as to disparage such pairings when they reflect someone like Siddhartha, Desidancer or SemiDesiMasala’s ancestry.
So, maybe these are just mischief-instigating trolls, having some wicked fun via drive-by hate-spewing.
Or are they?
I think there’s more to this– and that’s why I’m publishing this post. Let’s have it out, then. Some of you seem to be in the mood to REALLY tell us what you think, so here’s your deluxe chance. Almost everyone here is anonymous. It’s safe to be honest.
The following comments were left on my post about a woman named Aarti being chosen as one of the cuter people on the Hill:
hillside: Also I’ve never dated an Indian girl either, probably partly because so many of the hot ones like the two on this list are into white dudes. [sm]
Sheetal: (referring to comment above)
I’ve noticed this too. What is up with that? [sm]
Sheetal followed that comment by excerpting the following portion of the Hill article, making sure to highlight certain significant words by “bolding” them.
Skipper is a native of Chicago but both parents are from India â€” something that had worried her when it came to the issue of marriage. The handsome man in church soon became her boyfriend, but he was American and Caucasian, far from what she thought her parents would ever accept.
Okay, loud and clear. Jamie Skipper is Desi and she married a Caucasian (never mind that Desis are Caucasian, too). Yet another commenter seemed to agree with hillside and Sheetal:
Kannan: its interesting that you bring this up..We have parallels with the asian community. I’ve heard/seen that before. Hot lil Korean spinner would rather hook up with tall lanky white dude than someone from her race and its kind of common because I know a lot of my asian brothers who want to date from their race gripe and bitch about it:) Its almost like an invisible social hierarchy And the same goes for desi guys, I have a lot of friends who date white girls just because they think it brings them more social value” Look at me FOB minority guy pulling from the majority race” However for me its never really been race, its whether I was attracted to the person or not and it so happens I have never gone brown [sm]
Kannan, I think your final sentence encapsulates how most of us feel, but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t explore the other sentiments I’ve highlighted.
SM is at its best when we are honestly, openly and sometimes painfully hashing out the issues that our community/others refuse to acknowledge or discuss; I didn’t put this post up in order to invite you to pillory “hillside” and “Sheetal”. They weren’t abusive, they were blunt. I wrote this post because I wanted to know how the rest of you felt. The thing is, I am almost certain that they aren’t alone and that more of you agree with them than we realize. Maybe it’s time to call ourselves out.
To be brutally honest, I’ve been there. Years ago, I crushed on Desi guys who only seemed to “swing one way”; I’ve been let down gently by being told that:
If I did date Indian girls, you’d totally be my type.
I’m just not attracted to dark skin…I like pink nipples (!) (this from someone even darker than me)
and the best one, ever,
Um, I could never go out with you because it would be like dating my sister. White girls don’t remind me of relatives.
And what do black and Asian girls remind you of? It’s so telling that they almost never factor in to these cringe-inducing statements, it’s always white girls who are “preferred”, which invites doubt about the sincerity behind someone’s “type”.
Predictably, each of those instances left me feeling wounded. It didn’t help matters that every time my Mother came across some seemingly eligible, compatible (read: also raised-away-from-Mallus) ummarried boy, his mother would sorrowfully lament that
“He already has girlfriend. White. Enne chayum?”.
Mom would come home, grumpy. “The second they graduate from law or med school, they run after a vellambi. Chey!”
I knew why my Mother said something so annoyingly ignorant. Encounters with unavailable, suitable boys combined with input from her coworkers, a good portion of whom are African-American, to create an explosive cocktail of hurt; soon, my Mother absorbed that odious complex about “successful POC going white”, especially after the cutest brown resident at her hospital took up with some “white nurse who wasn’t even pretty” instead of someone Indian/Pinay/Chinese/Black (all of whom were/are allegedly gorgeous, in comparison). When they heard about the brown and white coupling, my Mother’s African American office mate snorted, “typical” while Ma shook her head and sighed. She told me all about it, bitterly.
“Mommy, maybe they’re in love?”
“Podi, penne. Stop being blonde.”
“Mom you’re being unreasonable.”
“You are never going to find a boy. There are no educated Malayalee boys with three degrees. If there are, they are only interested in the white girls.”
“I don’t care how many degrees…remember? I like engineers. They usually have just one.”
“Chinammamma is right. That’s a recipe for disaster. Boy should have more degrees than girl-”
“- and be three years older, and three inches taller and blah blah blah. Spare me, Ma.”
“Make fun all you want, those things are accepted for a reason- they work. You want your husband to resent you?”
“I thought you didn’t care if I got married?”
“I don’t. It would save me money. I’d rather travel than waste all that, or put the down-payment on a house for you. I have nothing to prove to your Father’s friends and I’ve never been interested in outdoing them. I just…saw Mercy’s son and thought he was so cute. My grandchildren would have been so cute!”
All right-y, then. What’s hilarious is that my Mother had to alter her theory a year later, when “Mercy’s son” got engaged to a Punjabi girl he met in law school:
“Sho! Anyone but a Malayalee penne, eh?”
“What, Ma…now there’s a hierarchy? White, then North Indian, then South?”
I didn’t really make peace with any of this until I met an adorable white guy who confessed that he liked me…only to hear me gracefully blurt out that I only date brown boys. It’s true, I can’t help it. I always have gone brown and probably always will. It’s just what I am attracted to– black hair, dark eyes, tan skin (fur optional).
The epiphany I had at that moment, while staring in to wounded blue eyes and rapidly batting blonde lashes, brought me closure and a bit of enlightenment; duh, no one has to justify whom they are attracted to, but hopefully they are acting out of their purest feelings– we can’t help whom we fall for, but we can call ourselves out if we’re nursing some bizarre colonial hangover or other therapy-requiring-issue (full disclosure: I have a family member who ONLY dates white guys, because they are the polar opposite of her strict, very Desi Dad).
There are other aspects to the complicated issue of human mixology, too– one of my dearest friends is finally in a blissful relationship. With a black man. After being repeatedly rejected by Desi guys for her tan skin and curves, she has given up on making her parents’ dreams of an Indian son-in-law come true. Instead, she found someone who will accept her just as she is; she has decided to do what makes her happy– and I am thrilled for her. I’m also broken-hearted that essentially, she has to keep her love closeted. Additionally, I would enjoy beating the fecal matter out of the last Desi she went on a blind date with, who brilliantly said, “you’d be so pretty if you weren’t so dark!”, while recoiling from her. But I’m protective and furious like that.
Look. This stuff is real. It happens. Let’s talk about it, if you are in the mood. I’m opening a safe space for exploration, if you are so inclined. You don’t have to be P.C. or fake, you just have to be respectful and courteous; controversial topics are impossible to fisk if we’re not, right?