By: Reenita V
Dating has always been such an interesting adventure for me. I’m the friend with the interesting and for the most part, funny stories to tell about the numerous people I have had the pleasure of meeting since I began dating at the age of 16. We live in the age of technology which means we have numerous ways to engage with people and sometimes that is awesome and sometimes it is horrible. As a woman of color, I find every so often that I receive the same comment from people outside the South Asian community which is ‘I’ve never dated a Brown Girl’. This comment used to be a compliment but I am no longer 16 and I’ve grown to realize that it’s actually down right offensive.
When I hear this comment, I often wonder what this means for the person stating it. Do you have some preconceived idea of what dating a South Asian girl is like? Do you admire my skin color because it means I won’t drag you to the beach to tan or spend countless hours in a tanning booth? Do you think I will break down into song and dance while dolled up in a heavily beaded sari? Do you think I will spend countless hours slaving away making you delicious, stick to your ribs, spicy curry? Do you believe in the media’s poor presentation of South Asian women and think I will be passive and obedient? Do you say this to acknowledge or convince yourself that dating someone who is not of European descent is OK? Please, enlighten me as to why you think it is OK to say this to me or any other people of color for that matter. Let me break this down for everyone, while I do have fabulous skin, it is because I exfoliate, hydrate and wear sunblock (yes, people of color do wear sunblock).It would be fun to live life like it was a Bollywood film but sadly reality does not allow for me to live in a musical. I can’t make you curry but I can make you a mean lasagna. I come from a vibrant culture but I’m also more than just my heritage.
While we should acknowledge that I am a person of color, please also recognize that I am also a person. I am someone with life experience, a great family, strong personal values and I may have different barriers placed against me because of my skin color. Date someone because you are drawn to that person based on who they are and because you are attracted them. Be open to the idea that people of color from different cultural backgrounds may bring an alternate view to how their world works But please, don’t just date someone because their skin colour is different.