I am flawed. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in a relationship. I will prioritize work when I should prioritize you. I will sleep late, but wake up early. At times, I will be distant and at other times, I will feel needy – unfortunately, you’ll never know which comes when. The more comfortable I get with you, the quieter I will get. I’m almost always either in a pair of sweats or a 3-piece suit, and you’ll surely get frustrated with this when we go out. The point is, I am not an easy person to go out with. I understand that. I own up to that.
But! And, I can’t believe this needs to be said in 2018. BUT!
Dear women who may one day choose to date me,
It is NOT okay…
To say, “I am so glad you’re not Muslim.” You’re right. I’m not. But, for the record, the best man at my wedding – which you’ll never attend – will be.
To say, “You’re so handsome for a brown guy!” We look like Shah Rukh Khan, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, Hrithik Roshan, Siddharth Malhotra. Google them. What did you expect?
To say, “But you’re not really brown because you’re so white-washed.” Which part of me is white-washed? My accent? My outfits? My personality? Or my pride in my culture?
To say, “You can’t be an immigrant – you don’t have an accent!” We don’t all sound like Apu. And, we don’t all sound like the butt of every Russel Peters joke either.
To say, “So. How much does a cardiac surgeon make?” To quote Kanye, “I ain’t sayin’ she’s a Gold digger…” But, to answer your question – not enough.
To say, “Well, the last brown guy I dated was okay with it.” Were you aware that “brown people” come from different countries? And we have different personalities and opinions and even develop individual thoughts?
To say, “My family doctor is a Dr. Gupta. Do you know her?” Just like I am not related to Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, I am not related to every other Dr. Gupta either. No, I don’t know her.
To say, “I was excited to go out with you because you look so exotic!” I am not an imported piece of fruit. And neither are different cultures Pokemons – you really don’t have to collect us all.
To say, “I wanted to sit in a corner because in a small town, people might stare at me for being out with you.” I have a better idea – let’s just not go out. I don’t ever need to feel ashamed of my skin colour. Ever. I already have enough insecurities.
Dear women who may one day choose to date me, I’m guessing – hoping – you’re not racist by choice. But, prejudice, intolerance and sheltered thoughts can rear their head at any time. It’s like, “racism lite” or “diet racism”; these statements are meant to be harmless, but in reality, they carry a punch to the gut.
Now, I can imagine you’ve probably heard comments and statements that have made you feel uncomfortable too. And, for that, I am sorry. I’m also sure that getting called out in such a forum is making you uncomfortable as well. And, for that, I am sorry too. But, don’t shy away from this; lean into it! Call yourself and your friends out on this. We are all guilty of this passive racism. The idea that it’s okay to say these things because, “it’s about me, not you!” or “it’s a compliment!”, or “it was meant as a joke!” needs to be challenged.
I want to go out with you because I want to see if we have a spark and a connection. I want to see if you excite my mental faculties and entice me to want to travel with you. I am curious if we can see a life together.
But, I really don’t ever wonder whether our skin colours can have a life together. That shouldn’t matter.
I’m sure this doesn’t apply to everyone. And, I’m also sure this list is not exhaustive; just speaks from my experiences of the last few years. My culture, my background, and my skin colour are all a part of my identity and something in which I feel pride. In 2018, I shouldn’t have to deal with being grouped under a stereotype or to have to justify why I’m not the stereotype.