Shoob online dating
It was then that I leaned across to Paula’s stiff body and whispered, “Maybe they’re making a… ” proving those who might call me a persistent pessimist wrong. A western cinematic impossibility I am always hungry for.But the scene is reminiscent of a universal experience of tokenism, invisibility and disposal shared by all women and non-binary people of colour, and it is a motif that escalates throughout the rest of the film. A mother, father, brother and sister-in-law, all brown—and all perfect caricatures of South Asian Muslim brownness.We see them almost exclusively in domestic settings: around the dinner table guzzling samosas, in their living room drinking chai and—you guessed it, motherfucker—interviewing a montage of South Asian women for the esteemed role of Wife of Kumail.Most of the women being interviewed are characterized as dumpy, unintelligent losers, and one literally does a magic trick for the family in an act of bizarre South Asian minstrelsy.You know, the ones we were bullied in the playground for. Why is the father characterized as some kind of Bollywood-singing-cymbal-banging-monkey-toy, and, more importantly, why is his mother characterized as an evil heartless bitch who is able to disown her son without shedding a tear or ever explaining why?Meanwhile, the bulk of the plot revolves around Kumail trying to win the affections of Emily’s white parents while poor Emily is in a coma.
It’s sad that due to a legacy of systemic racism and acute lack of representation in media for Black and brown people, there is a huge onus on the people who do have a platform to handle it with care.
The white man sitting behind us, whose wife had shushed us before the movie started, laughed gutturally throughout the film.
This is a white liberal’s wet dream: permission from a Muslim to despise Muslims.
A South Asian family presented as obsessed with arranged marriage to the point of mania? The innocent man of colour trying to escape the clutches of his overbearing, barbaric, ignorant Muslim family so he may lay with his Aryan princess one more time? In Hari Kondabolu’s recent documentary The Problem With Apu, he investigates ‘Patanging,’ the phenomenon whereby someone’s South Asianness is exaggerated for the screen to the point of a dehumanizing stereotype, usually at the behest of a white director, for a white audience.
This will include being asked to put on a thick, broad Indian accent (as I’m sure the brown women playing Kumail’s suitors were asked to do for this movie), and being expected to embody what are seen as traditional “Indian” body movements, such as the wobbling head and the screwing-in-the-lightbulb hands. Why is there literally not one moment of nuance afforded this family?