Wait…did someone on E! ask Mindy Kaling what her favorite color guy was? And this was broadcasted on television?
In the video above, an E! News correspondent asked sitcom star Mindy Kaling what ‘color’ guys she likes to date in an Oscars interview. Kaling is the creator and star of a TV sitcom, called The Mindy Project, in which she dates a series of men with amusing outcomes. However, when it comes to real life, Kaling seems far more reluctant to discuss her dating preferences.
The 34-year-old American-born actress of Indian descent looked visibly awkward as she had to swerve a question from E! News correspondent Alicia Quarles about what ethnicity of men she most fancied. The two began chatting on the red carpet at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party about Kaling’s hit comedy and the men her character romances before Quarles asked Kaling: “So who’s your type?”
“Who’s my type? Good looking?” Kaling replies, a fitting response to a shallow question.
Persistently, as if the first question wasn’t awkward enough, Quarles asked: “Okay, so any color?”
“Yeah” the composed actress replied, laughing; she didn’t go on to elaborate any further.
But before they could move on to a different topic, Quarles tells her to “kiss some black men on that show”.
I know what some of you may be thinking – did we hear this video clip right? Yes, our ears didn’t deceive us. By asking those uncomfortable questions, was there ever a good answer that Kaling could provide? Or was she only asking Kaling because she’s an Indian woman?
Kaling is is a real professional and can handle even the most uncomfortable of questions; after all, she is a writer and actress. But even though this talented American-Indian female showrunner has a lot of success riding on her career right now, she is rarely asked to talk about her craft, but rather always receives questions regarding dating and fashion.
Would this happen if she was a man of colour? Furthermore, do white men ever get called out for only dating white women? Or do white women get called out for only dating white men? Thinking about these questions, my answer would be that this rarely ever happens. Kaling is only being singled out for these inquiries because she has done something rare in the entertainment business; she is a woman of colour who not only has her own television show, but is also the star of that show. Although she has dated mainly white males in her show, she is being singled out for not dating a wider diversity of men because she is expected to break the boundaries even more.
However, even professionals like Mindy Kaling can only take so many questions regarding diversity before she loses her patience and snaps. According to The Globe and Mail, Mindy Kaling has finally had it with all the diversity questions. As if the first incident at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party with E! reporter Quarles’ upfront question wasn’t enough, the issue came up again at another recent event but the difference was that this time, Kaling stood her ground and gave them her real opinion on the subject.
In the article by Flavorwire, it was stated that Kaling was asked by an audience member: “You guys have a great, diverse set of characters, but was it a conscious decision for Mindy to be the only female doctor, and the only doctor of color in the show?” Despite the fact that her co-panelists and Kaling’s co-stars answered earnestly while praising their female cast members, Kaling really had her last smidge of patience when she responded:
“I look at shows on TV, and this is going to just seem defensive, but I’m just gonna say it: I’m a fucking Indian woman who has her own fucking network television show, OK?
The audience applauded, but Kaling was just getting started. “I have four series regulars that are women on my show, and no one asks any of the shows I adore — and I won’t name them because they’re my friends — why no leads on their shows are women or of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things. And I’ll answer them, I will. But I know what’s going on here.” Some laughter (some of it nervous) echoed through the ballroom. “It is a little insulting because, I’m like, God, what can I — oh, I’m sitting in it. I have 75 percent of the lines on the show.
And I’m like, oh wait, it’s not like I’m running a country, I’m not a political figure,” she continued. “I’m someone who’s writing a show and I want to use funny people. And it feels like it diminishes the incredibly funny women who do come on my show… I don’t know, it’s a little frustrating.”
As Jezebel put it: “Good for Mindy for calling out that bullshit double standard—there are tons of beloved shows with all-white main casts, and people don’t seem to demand the same commitment to diversity from those showrunners.”
It’s interesting that there are many other shows with lack of diversity in their cast, yet these people don’t get the same expected responsibility as Kaling. But in all seriousness, why is it that everyone put this enormous expectation on Mindy Kaling’s shoulders to completely break that diversity barrier; though Kaling may want to break this barrier once and for all, it isn’t in her power to do it all on her own.