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Social Issues. Tweet about this Share this on Facebook. Whiteness, much like gender, is a performance. My experience of the dating scene here in the UK as a brown man from the subcontinent has mostly been negative, and I think my lack of performative whiteness is the problem. There have been several instances when my politeness was mistaken for an unwarranted advance.
This has taken a severe toll on my self-perception, often to the extent of paranoia. This has been proven to me multiple times.
For example, a white girl I was briefly seeing made several borderline offensive comments while we were flirting. Will they accept me? Will your community shame you? She said these things quite unabashedly and I chose to ignore them maybe because she was right. This is not to suggest that brown men have it the worst.
Women of colour are often fetishised by white guys while simultaneously rejected or looked down upon by guys from their own community. Brown men have literally made a career out of fantasising about dating white women. Just see the work of Kumail Nanjiani and Aziz Ansari. However, not all brown women are found equally attractive by white men.
These are negative if shown by a brown guy, but if a white guy exhibits the same traits, he is judged as cute and nerdy. Other brown stereotypes include loving our families, not going to the gym to maintain a conventionally attractive body, being a workaholic, and being worried about securing our futures. This led me to delve deeper into these stereotypes.
For example, many in the West think Indian men are not very sociable, they prefer eating their cuisine, prefer hanging out with their kin, and prioritise their family. But why are these behaviours and value systems deemed undesirable? However, it must be noted that not all brown men are considered undesirable — only those who fail to act white. British South Asian men do very well for themselves in the dating scene because they have learned how to perform whiteness.
When I moved here for university, I struggled hard to assimilate. I stopped wearing clothes from my home country. I decided to groom my eyebrows, hair, and beard. They were next to unrecognisable at parties. They would assume a certain pretentious aura — extra friendly and polite, talking in a weird accent, and speaking I want a white girl about their home country and its problems in front of a white audience in order to garner their sympathy.
Most of these students unsurprisingly belonged to upper castes, came from big cities, and had had an elite educational background. Having to see these things firsthand often made me cringe really hard, but it made me question whether in their pursuit of trying to imitate the English, were they ignorantly really making a caricature of themselves? Anyway, I was failing to be white — and I strongly felt the pressure to catch up. They would assume a certain pretentious aura — extra friendly and polite, talking in a weird accent, and speaking poorly about their home country.
I want to think about whether those judgements or lack of validation from white folks are actually important to, or for me, now. On the other side of the spectrum many men of colour seem to suffer from white skin fetishism, which is the product of an unholy union of colonial indoctrination and patriarchy.
Do I suffer from that as well? And am I specifically focused on feedback from white women? If yes, was it because I was specifically looking forward to dating or sleeping with them? Moreover, I believe that my lifestyle or habits are incompatible with white culture. I am culturally very brown. I am tired of hating on myself.
They are well aware of their power and position in the society. They know that they are infantilised to the extent that society deems I want a white girl incapable of committing evil acts. They understand that they are on the top of the list of groups of people who need to be rescued or saved. I believe that we as POC have done enough to assimilate with white society. We wear their clothes, we eat their food, we read the works of their intellectuals, we read their history, and we speak and study in their language. Personal acts of solidarity and words of brotherhood psychosocial equality are vacuous without tangible material equality.
Secondly, I believe that we as I want a white girl have done enough to assimilate with white society. I am unwilling to change my fundamental values, my core attitudes and behaviours, compromise my identity as an Indian man, and most importantly be shamed for my cultural baggage. I wish to reclaim the stereotypes surrounding brown men. I want to attack racism and not condone brown misogyny. I simply wish to be brown and proud, openly and unapologetically.
We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8, young people through our workshops, over young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beansand last year, overpeople visited our website.
In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important. Through supporting Rife you can ensure that this important work continues and that more young people have their voices heard. Hansit Deb is a student of Social Psychology. His other areas of interest are politics, following cultural trends, and sociology.
His favourite hobby involves talking to people who don't share his worldviews. When he is not busy dissecting politics and sociocultural phenomena, he avoids interacting with fellow humans generally and spends most of his time online appreciating memes instead. Black comedy and self-deprecating humour are his penchant. He resorts to playing live music I want a white girl when at a loss of words to express himself. Anxiety and stress often drive him to take solo trips on long hikes.
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