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Right now, Master of None is validating a point of view that white partners are more desirable.
That’s not challenging the status quo; that’s reinforcing it.
Wells is of Hispanic and Tunisian descent, but her character is presented as white.
(Dev playfully calls her a “honky” before the couple goes to a honky-tonk bar, and we meet her white grandmother in one of the later episodes.) For a show that so deftly takes on race and how it influences how we see one another, and where every actor’s ethnicity informs his or her character, the decision to not engage with it romantically on any level feels like a missed opportunity.
Master of None tells stories about people of color that usually go untold and showcases them in roles they don’t normally fill: leading man, supportive friend, loving parent.
Ansari plays Dev, a struggling actor living in New York, whose circle of friends is made up of a bearded white guy, a Taiwanese-American, and a black lesbian with fabulous athleisure style.
But it’s much easier to list television shows with white/person of color relationships.
There’s Troy and Britta (Community), Jay and Gloria (Modern Family), Tom and Helen (The Jeffersons), Angela and Shawn (Boy Meets World), Brad and Jane (Happy Endings), Toni and Todd (Girlfriends), Jasmine and Crosby (Parenthood), Santiago and Peralta (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Captain Holt and Kevin (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), to name a few. Many of these shows were conceived with interracial relationships at their center.
We decided to turn it into a date right then and there. It was called JOCFlock (“JOC” as in “Jews of Color,” and “Flock” as in “a herd of single sheep looking to mingle”), and it was the Internet’s first dating site that catered to Jews of color.
JOCFlock was launched in 2010 on Tu B’Av—by me—because there was (and still is) something very wrong about how Jews of color are treated once they reach this particular point of the Jewish life cycle, and it desperately needed a solution.
When The Mindy Project began, it functioned as a rom-com, with Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) actively choosing and dating multiple partners (one character, Danny Castellano, was singled out as her soulmate in the pilot).