I like Mindy Lahiri. I like her and her creator, Mindy Kaling. The character might make kind of a crazy friend (the kind that that you love telling stories about later even though you’re really annoyed at her while those memories are being made), but she’s not a role model. She’s insecure and self-centered and boy crazy and that’s ok. Because that makes for good TV. Some people have wondered aloud and publicly “Why doesn’t Mindy Lahiri date an Asian guy? Why’s she always dating white guys? Does Mindy (the creator, not the character) not care about creating healthy portrayals of Asian American relationships? Is she trying to white wash her character? What’s going on? She could find a funny South Asian American guy to do an episode…”
You can see Mindy Kaling address her take on the character’s South Asian American-ness, or you can read mine. Which is this: Mindy Lahiri isn’t a role model, remember? I know, I know, singer and movie stars and professional athletes have asked not to be held up as role models, but this is a fictional character. She’s a fictional hot mess and racial pairings aside, her relationships aren’t particularly healthy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it a liberating sign of social progress that women of color can play flawed characters that don’t reflect on an entire race?