It’s Time to Talk about It, “Never Have I Ever” Has a Race Problem

Never Have I Ever has returned to Netflix with a new season, and, much to my surprise, the series improves substantially in season two. It’s clear that Mindy Kaling and the show’s creative team took much of the criticism about the first season to heart, re-examining and removing some of the most offensive elements and adding much-needed depth to many of the characters. But while the season pulls off some incredibly touching and thoughtful stories, it continues to badly mishandle the issue of race.

Season two of NHIE portrays Indian communities with much more nuance than season one, but it takes some time to get there. It starts by making some of the same mistakes as its predecessor: barely two minutes into episode one, Nalini shares an instance of her “emotional exuberance” when she once hugged a stranger after hearing about a discount on a damaged printer. It’s an unnecessary moment, dripping with stereotypes about Indians being cheap and emotionally detached.

Her visit to Chennai is similarly full of racist presentations of India: for instance, the ridiculous notion of winning favors with family through Trader Joe’s snacks and the dig about losing power don’t square with Nalini’s wealthy family. As with season one’s depiction of Indian community, the writers scatter kernels of truth here and there, but they’re unexamined and not properly fleshed out: taking just one example, Nalini’s family probably would have servants — but also, so would the ostensibly middle-class Nirmala. However, as the season progresses, the show thankfully moves away from making sweeping statements about Indians (that are pretty much always offensive) and focuses on developing the characters instead.

Nalini, in particular, undergoes a complete transformation between the two seasons. Throughout season one, Nalini was the type of emotionally abusive Indian parent who only ever berated her child. In season two, she shows much more willingness to see things from Devi’s perspective right from the start. Multiple times in the first few episodes, Nalini lets Devi off the hook without any real punishment or lecture for breaking the rules. I’m not convinced that the type of parent Nalini was in season one changes so easily or quickly into one who can admit her own faults or when her daughter is in the right. Honestly, though, I think this shift is for the better because the show is actually able to develop a storyline of Nalini’s own, as we learn more about her office, see her interact with her professional colleagues and grapple with the challenges of being a single parent.

The Vishwakumar family sits around a table eating dinner. Nalini sits at the head of the table and is speaking with Kamala, to her left. Devi sits on Nalini's right and Nirmala is in the foreground of the image, next to Devi. The family is eating a traditional Indian meal prepared by Nirmala.

Kamala’s arranged marriage storyline also gets a much needed reckoning. The show had previously presented arranged marriage in a shallow way by having Kamala dump her East Asian boyfriend to date Prashant, the man her family was arranging her marriage with, because he turned out to be hot. But in season two, Kamala starts to reconsider her relationship with Prashant as he continuously downplays the rampant misogyny at her research lab. The problems she faces at the lab and what that tells her about Prashant become the main tensions of Kamala’s story in season two, offering a thoughtful re-examination of the sexist expectations placed on Asian women in both American and Indian culture.

Never Have I Ever also broadens its representation of Indian community with the addition of Devi’s classmate Aneesa in episode four. The writers make a point of stating Aneesa is Muslim when she’s introduced in class; other than that, her religion is mentioned only one time when she shares with Devi and her friends how she struggled to fit in with the cool kids at her previous school as the only Muslim brown girl. These references feel pointed: it’s clear that Aneesa was added as a specifically Muslim character to correct NHIE’s poor handling of Indian Muslims in season one, which had no Muslim characters at all and portrayed the latent Islamophobia in Hindu communities without actually calling it out as a problem. But what would it look like for Aneesa’s religion to be more fully integrated into her character? Honestly, I don’t know, because I can’t speak to the experience of being Indian Muslim and American. The way NHIE handles it currently definitely feels tokenizing, though.

This question of how to incorporate racial, ethnic and religious identities of non-white and non-Christian characters into their stories is one that Never Have I Ever has to tackle repeatedly because of its diverse cast. In some ways, it’s hard for me to not hold this show to a double standard because plenty of American media that centers white characters fails to address the racial identities of side characters in any kind of convincing way. But seeing Devi as both clearly Indian and clearly Hindu (even when the show does this poorly) makes the gaps in the other characters’ identities stand out even more.

In season one, Devi’s best friends Fabiola and Eleanor were two of the most obvious examples of nonwhite characters whose racial identities are completely ignored. In season two, we briefly see Eleanor perform with her Chinese acapella group; much like the references to Aneesa’s being Muslim, it feels a little like a token. Fabiola’s Afro-Latina identity, however, remains unacknowledged, and, in the context of Fabiola’s season-two story, this becomes a glaring omission.

Out of the closet and dating Eve, Fabiola is engaging more with queer community, but she’s struggling to fit in. Eve and her friends casually reference queer media and celebrities all the time, leaving Fabiola lost asking questions like, “What is a Vilanelle?” and wondering if King Princess is a play. Eve’s friends don’t hide their dismay at Fabiola’s ignorance. Eve herself is the embodiment of every woke white lesbian trope you can think of: she’s a leather-jacket-wearing vegan, her leftwing political views are buffoonishly on display constantly and pretty much the only thing she and her friends talk about is white queer culture. But in the story that unfolds, Eve also represents The Queer Community that Fabiola feels like she doesn’t have a place in.

Much like season one, what NHIE portrays as The Queer Community is limited to white queer community, and the addition of Eve’s friend Sasha as the only other queer character of color makes that even worse. Played by none other than Niecy Nash’s daughter Donielle Mikel Nash, even the very cool, very queer Sasha never once mentions a single Black queer celebrity. It’s hard not to watch season two without seeing the substantial disconnect between the diverse cast of queer and trans actresses (including Lee Rodriguez as Fabiola, Jasmine Davis as the nurse in Nalini’s office, Alexandra Billings as the school’s college counselor and Niecy Nash herself as Devi’s therapist) and the show’s entirely white and cis depiction of queer culture.

Eve and Fabiola sit with Eve's friends around a table at the party at Devi's house.

In many ways, I can relate to Fabiola’s struggles. Before I started writing at Autostraddle, I had peripherally heard of The L Word but had no idea how iconic it was and certainly couldn’t tell you anything about the show beyond, as Fabiola says, “the ‘L’ stands for lesbian.” So I understand how it feels to realize you’re gay and then realize that there’s an entire culture and history that seemingly everyone assumes you also must be immersed in simply by virtue of being gay. I’ve also seen how knowledge of these cultural markers can be used as a shorthand measure of a person’s queerness, even within the queer community. And while some of my experience has been tied to having different interests (for instance, I’ll never be into bar culture or astrology), most of it is about race.

With Fabiola’s story in season two, Never Have I Ever is putting a spotlight on the narrowness of mainstream lesbian culture, but the show fails to address how race factors into that narrowness. NHIE repeatedly shows Fabiola being alienated by her queer peers because she’s too nerdy and not cool enough, and the person constantly driving that point home is Sasha. The show erases the racial identities of its two Black queer characters and yet uses them to tell a story about exclusion. This story plays out in a predominantly white space and participates in the fallacy of whiteness as the unstated default culture in a post-racial world. So a story that, on its face, feels somewhat relatable to me as a queer person of color instead ends up denying the existence of racism as part of the experiences of queer people of color.

Ultimately, Fabiola’s white classmate Jonah encourages Fabiola to be herself (fulfilling the trope of the gay fairy godmother — the writers also fail to give Jonah’s character real depth, though they toned down some of his stereotypical flamboyance). The crux of Jonah’s motivational speech involves comparing Fabiola’s attempts to fit in with the queer community around her, to being in the closet. If Fabiola’s struggles over the course of the season had even peripherally involved her racial identity, I would have had no problem with this comparison. As a queer South Asian woman, I often think about the similarities and also overlaps in how racism, sexism and homophobia have shaped my life. But what should have been a profound moment fell completely flat because the very real issue of the othering of people of color in queer spaces has been completely side stepped. It’s hard not to feel like Never Have I Ever has inadvertently elevated “making fun of nerds” to the level of systemic oppression, instead.

Fabiola’s story tapped into a real dynamic in queer communities, but the show couldn’t bring itself to actually identify the problem for what it truly is: racism. And this brings to light an issue with NHIE as a whole. Like so much mainstream media, Never Have I Ever flirts with the existence of racism but doesn’t want to seriously confront it.

This even applies to the show’s South Asian characters. We see Devi experience the occasional microaggression but, beyond embodying the model minority, systemic racism isn’t something she really has to deal with: her unpopularity at school is chalked up to the excesses of her own actions, instead. (John McEnroe, narrating Devi’s internal monologue, actually says this explicitly when Aneesa is introduced: “[Devi] had always assumed her unpopularity was because of racism, but this new kid was proving that Devi might just be objectively lame.”) Racism is stated as the reason why Aneesa had previously developed an eating disorder, but the show treats the racism as a problem of Aneesa’s past, left behind at her old school. Instead, as Aneesa’s mother points out, the only other Indian girl at the school is the one to spread a rumor about her (in some ways echoing the ongoing dynamic between Sasha and Fabiola) and effectively denies the existence of race-based bullying.

Aneesa smiles as she talks to Mr. Kulkarni in his classroom, one of the school's teachers who is also South Asian. Devi stands behind them, frowning with a look of betrayal on her face as she looks at Mr. Kulkarni.

The issues in Kamala’s research lab are also more about gender than race. Kamala makes one passing reference to having been forced by her boss to play a woman kidnapped by a maharaja in multiple LARPs, but her colleagues don’t say they can’t understand her accent and her boss doesn’t allege that her “poor” writing skills are the reason why she was left off the journal publication. The fact that what Kamala’s going through is not about race is further reinforced by the fact that Prashant clearly can’t relate to her experience at all.

The show’s non-South Asian and non-white characters don’t even get the microaggressions; for them, racism is a historical artifact. I was touched by Paxton’s storyline of connecting with his grandfather and learning about his Japanese family’s history of internment in the U.S. for a school project. But, Paxton also doesn’t have to navigate racism in the day-to-day. There are a couple of passing references to the erasure of his biracial identity, but the larger story about people failing to see his interiority is that his family and friends assume he’s not studious. Once again, the show is side-stepping race.

The only time the topic of anti-Blackness is skirted is when Fabiola’s mother shares that she and Fabiola’s father were the first queen and king of color of their high school dance. While I appreciated that this became the impetus for Fabiola and Eve nominating themselves to be the high school’s royal couple at this year’s dance, I was also disturbed by the implication that racism against Black and Latinx people is squarely a thing of the past. And, this is yet another instance where the interplay between racial and queer identities within queer community and culture is completely white washed.

I don’t believe that every story about people of color has to be about our traumas. If Never Have I Ever wanted to center positive stories about people of color, I could understand that. In some ways, it pulls this off most successfully with Nalini’s storyline, which was one of my favorites in season two. The show glosses over many things, like the anti-Blackness that is persistent in far too many Indian communities and Nirmala’s easy acceptance of Nalini dating (and dating a non-Indian man at that), but we also get the rare joy of seeing two non-white characters of different backgrounds connect with each other over their shared experiences and not be bogged down by racism. (Arguably, though, Dr. Jackson’s Black identity is also nonexistent.)

But in so many of the other plot lines, Never Have I Ever walks right up to the line of racism and then makes the story about something else. It makes for an unsettling viewing experience as a person of color. All of these characters of color are trying to find their place and come into their identities in ways that really deeply resonate with me. And then that connection slips away because, in the real world, these struggles would be very clearly related to the characters’ racial identities, but the show insists that what’s happening is really not about race — a claim countless white people have made in my life. I do recognize the feat of representation that NHIE is pulling off, but it’s hard to watch a show that’s so much about race — that clearly wants to engage with racism — repeatedly undermine the reality of structural racism, instead.

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Himani is a dabbler of a writer. Her work includes reviews of media centering Asian stories, news and politics, advice and the occasional personal essay. Find her on Instagram.

Himani has written 53 articles for us.


    • i’m my opinion, the show is racist towards muslims. as a muslim person myself, i find it wrong and disrespectful to show the muslim girl break her religion rules. It’s not the first time netflix has done this, Netflix always make muslims on shows do what their religion doesn’t allow them to do. for example, Anessa clearly introduced herself as a Muslim girl who isn’t allowed to date due to religious purposes. Yet netflix makes Anessa date/make out with this white man (Ben Gross). I don’t know, in my opinion,it’s just disrespectful but that’s just my point of view. Devi’s mom also shit talked muslim in one episode.

  1. I also thought the handling of race in the show was off. Like I really assumed they were setting Eve and Fabiola up for a break up, and Aneesa would turn out to be queer and they would bond over being QWOC. One character even explicitly says that Fabs problems aren’t about being gay, but about being with Eve (unless I misheard). I thought this was gonna be a storyline about how QWOC have to kind of come out twice. First you realise you’re gay, second you realise that maybe white women aren’t always the best choice of partner when you’re discovering your identity. Clearly too nuanced for this show though…!

    • OMG I want to see THIS story! It would be so perfect.

      It was hilarious to me how at the end of the season, the writers still couldn’t come up with a single justification for Eve & Fabiola’s relationship. Eve literally just says “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve met.” Since when is that a good enough reason to be in a relationship??? It really makes no sense why they are together…

  2. Can we talk about every person of color on this show (aside from mom and cousin) dates someone white (or white presenting). It is starting to feel like on tv if a BIPOC is in a relationship, it is always with someone white. This feels especially true for queer couples.

    • I think about the representation of interracial relationships, specifically, a lot and totally agree with you that far too often on TV it’s POC + white person. But I also found the show ending Kamala’s relationship with Steve in season 1 to move her into a relationship that’s within race, within nationality and within religion to be pretty frustrating.

      While I generally agree with your point that it’s too often the case that a POC ends up with a white person, I do think there’s a not insignificant difference between white people, white-passing people, and white-presenting people. But this goes back to the question of how does media incorporate racial and religious identities into non-white and non-Christian characters in convincing ways? In the case of Ben, I think his Jewish identity isn’t even mentioned in S2 while in S1 it’s just a bunch of racist tropes that still don’t actually engage with Jewish heritage, religion or culture. But how interesting would it have been to actually engage with Ben’s cross-religious relationship? S2 does address Paxton’s Japanese heritage so I see him as more “white-presenting” than “white-passing” and so I personally would not equate a relationship between Paxton & any non-white character as a relationship with a white or even white-passing person. (Which I know is not what you said, but I guess I’m saying I think of a relationship between white/white-passing person + POC as very different from white-presenting person + POC.)

    • “the show insists that what’s happening is really not about race — a claim countless white people have made” – Yes! Thanks, this really helped me grasp why it felt phoney. Great piece!

    • I cannot understand how such a casually open and diverse show attracts these racist commentaries (even in the main article itself).


      – Indians can laugh at their own topics, only not in tv, that´s racist.
      – Fabiola should date an indian because both of them are not white which, appparently, is all their need to instantly form a bond.
      – It´s bad how every non white in the show is dating white people. As in, what, they should stick to the minority only? Filter out the white trash? I thought love was blind.
      – If the show doesn´t portray POC then it´s racist. If it does, centering around hindu people in USA, it´s still racist because it doesn´t give the spotlight to muslim Indians. If they do show muslim indians, their cultural background is not discussed well enough. If the gay friend is coming out, then it´s racist not bringing up the subject of her ethniticy at the same time.

      Come on, it´s a comedy.

      In an ideal world, people date whoever they have a connection with, and the color of their skin is a non factor.

      Some people can grow up as members of a minority and not have problems with it.

      Some even turn it in their favor by being cool just by not being like everyone else.

      A tv show cannot possibly represent everything that´s happened or happens to every single person. We all have our own issues. True, there are general issues around the ethnic minorities, and around queer people. But each of us is a singular person with singular lives and this show represents just that, in a very casual way, which is why it´s entertaining and endearing, instead of obnoxious and preachy.

      You people just cannot have nice things.

  3. Maybe I’m too old and out of the loop, but I’ve never met a queer that thought robotics weren’t as cool as like, the prom. And I think you’re bang on about white pop cultural norms around our community, but I don’t think this extends to ‘making fun of smart kids’.

    The queen/queen storyline also felt quite floppy – they didn’t have to fight for it, at all. Nobody expressed any kind of homophobia or resistance, so what was the point? Even the scene where they were filling in the form felt ridiculous. If there was no problem with the idea of two queens, why had it never happened before?

    And I know the white cultural norms are exclusionary and gate keepy, but there is some pleasure in discovering queer culture of any flavour. As if Fabiola wasn’t researching queer scientists with glee! I hate the trope of, ‘I’m gay but everything about me is exactly the same!’

    I also hated that she didn’t get to have any queer friends. There wasn’t a single moment of connection about being queer.

    Anyway, I had a lot of feelings.

    • “As if Fabiola wasn’t researching queer scientists with glee!” <-- I thought about this a lot as I was working on this review. This seems like an easy direction that the show could have taken that would've been celebratory of queer culture, even if it still didn't necessarily grapple with the racial dynamics at play. Instead the take away seems to be... lesbians are exclusionary and mean?? (The fact that Jonah, a cis white gay man, is the one to affirm that Fabiola does belong in the queer community seems to reinforce this…)

  4. I think the show does a great job in addressing diversity. At the end of the day, the show is trying to depict issues that occur in our society. There are so many issues that it wouldn’t make sense to see all of them portrayed in the show. That’s why we have multiple seasons and we need to support a show that stands to even attempt at addressing these issues. Growing up as a person of colour in a predominantly white society, I am so happy to see that this show is including people I can relate to, but also that race doesn’t make up who they are completely. Devi is South Asian and it’s a very important fact in the story, but she is so much more than that. She continues to live her life while being Asian, a teenager, a loved family member, a smart student, a dynamic friend, an attractive girl, etc. We can’t make everything about race, and if we did, that would be over addressing the issue.

  5. Nothing is perfect! There are always enough holes to poke or issues but is there another series which represents so many different issues and normalizes them. South Asian protagonist, regular Muslim teenager, diverse friend circle, Indian parenting. So instead of pointing out the problems let’s support such content so that other creators out there don’t hesitate to produce content of the “real” world

    • Agreed! I also think this perspective is a bit skewed to an older generation (not sure how old the writer is), but Gen Z and their general outlook on things are totally different. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has said in an interview that she hasn’t ever really felt ashamed of her culture, and any racism she had in her school was more subtle comments from students and not systemic. Living in Toronto myself I can confirm that healthy diverse communities are becoming more of a reality, especially among younger people.
      Being queer, brown, biracial etc isn’t seen as a big deal for this generation the way it may have been for older ones (not that this isn’t a problem, but there have been vast improvements compared to what previous generations have had to go through).

      Let’s celebrate how far we’ve come. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be seeing a Muslim character like Aneesa just portrayed as a normal and very cool girl, without having her Muslim-ness have to be such a big part of her storyline (that to me is tokenism/othering)..

      It’s really cool to see a high school portrayed where diversity is just normal and people’s races aren’t seen as an abnormality all the time..

      • I’m joining the convo super late, but I think this is a really interesting comment. I’m a Millennial (and an Elder Millennial at that), and I think maybe you’re right. But I also think that my perspective on systemic oppression has changed as I’ve spent more time in the “system.” For example, when I was just starting out in my career, I did not feel like my gender or ethnicity held me back in any way, but as I watched mediocre white, cis men advance more quickly than others who worked harder and smarter, I started noticing the tiny ways in which whiteness and being a cis man were systematically rewarded (sometimes by things that at the time felt like one-off comments).

        Basically, when I was treated as a novice and was actually a novice, everything felt fine. But now that I have almost 15 years of experience, it’s not okay when I’m still treated like I was in my first year out of school. Looking back, I can see examples of sexism/racism in my early career that I did not recognize at the time.

        I’m not saying “just wait until you’re older and you’ll agree with me,” just that my point of view about my own life shifted over time.

        • I totally agree with you. My perspective on systemic oppression changed a lot through college and after. Seeing the mediocre white men move forward with no issues while my experience and qualifications are currently being discredited is just infuriating and it’s something that just becomes increasingly apparent as more and more time passes.

          Honestly that line I quote in the review “Devi always assumed her unpopularity was due to racism…” Personally, I feel like “who starts out by assuming that racism is what happens?” It’s the repeated experiences over time that makes it clearer that racism/sexism/etc is happening, at least in my experience.

  6. This is a thoughtful article. I think the racial dynamics fall squarely into Mindy Kaling’s MO of depicting race as something to make fun of but never to seriously consider (and that’s my generous take). She did the same thing on The Mindy Project and the show suffered for it.

  7. I checked out in the first season because of the fatphobic jokes (the running gag/trope of “the fat kid” in class being food-obsessed or generally clumbsy, without any other storyline). Does that come back in the second season?

  8. I guess I don’t understand why it would be necessary in Kamala’s story arc to have this: “but her colleagues don’t say they can’t understand her accent and her boss doesn’t allege that her “poor” writing skills are the reason why she was left off the journal publication.” Does racial-based discrimination need to be about her accent and supposedly “poor” writing skills? Deciding that these two expressions of racism count as dealing with race feels kind of reductive. Discrimination has other many and more nuanced ways of being expressed, sometimes in ways that are hard to perceive but are there, and I actually felt them being addressed (although it could have been done way, way better and more directly) when her partner Prashant tells her that she needs to stay quiet and play along, even suggesting that she assimilate to the white-male scientist culture around her by joining her white coworkers on their activities and pretending to like the games they play. His advise relates directly to an experience of race and immigrant status, which, as an immigrant of color myself, really rang true. Keep your head down and assimilate is something I’ve heard many times, and it stems from the idea that immigrants of color are lucky to have opportunities, and we should stand all manners of discrimination just to keep said opportunity. I think he can’t relate to the discrimination that is being inflicted upon her based on her gender because he is blocked by his male privilege, but he can perceive the issue based on his experience of race. I don’t think it ever goes deep enough, and in the end it is the people of color who have to deal with discussing the issues started by the white characters (who never participate in the conversation in any meaningful way), but for me it was important to hear that from him, to hear that outdated advise, it felt like it acknowledged my experience as an immigrant.

    • I should have clarified that what I stated about the accent and writing were examples and very obviously not the only ways that racism plays out, but two ways it could’ve been explicitly worked into Kamala’s story fairly easily. In general, I was trying to convey that we don’t really see Kamala explicitly experience structural racism as much as we see her explicitly experience structural misogyny. Obviously, in real life, people’s experiences of these two are pretty inextricable. But you’re absolutely right that Prashant’s responses are definitely indicative of his own experiences with structural racism as an immigrant. As you note, I also found Prashant’s responses to be really realistic of things that I’ve heard and seen others express as well.

      • Yeah, I have to set the record straight on this. I did not, in my review, say or imply that Kamala has “poor writing skills.” What I wrote is that this accusation was not leveled against her by her boss (hence the use of the key word in that sentence, “allege” and the scare quotes around the word “poor”).

        I brought this up as an example to point to the fact that Kamala’s story in the lab is more about misogyny than it is about racism. The allegation that a non-white immigrant has poor writing skills and then using that false accusation as a reason to hold them back from key opportunities is one that I’ve personally experienced and have also witnessed used against other people so many times in my life. Academia is rife with it, including in STEM disciplines. In the case of Kamala’s story, it seems like a pretty obvious and straightforward place to work in racism into her experience at the work place, if the show wanted to actually engage with racism in the kind of serious way it was engaging with misogyny and sexism. As I noted in my previous reply, Sae is right in observing that Prashant’s reactions to Kamala do indicate that he has probably experienced some version of this himself, though we don’t really see or engage with that on-screen.

    • Idk, I feel like these criticisms are asking the show to be a fundamentally different show, and pretending like brown people like these characters don’t exist. This show is not an example of bad representation. It might not mirror the author’s life experience, or their ideal vision of representation for all brown people, but the article makes it seem like the show is super problematic, and it’s not. Brown people who grow up in white spaces are profoundly shaped by whiteness! Racism is often more subtle than virulent in these spaces, and kids often don’t know how to respond to it or choose to minimize it or even have a hand in perpetrating it. Young people often haven’t even been around enough fellow brown people to have had the opportunity to engage deeply with their identities. I feel like these criticisms are expecting these kids to act like adult grad school students in sociology, but they’re high school kids, at a mostly white high school, a fact that is perhaps obscured by the show’s choice to most prominently feature characters of color. But again, brown people who grow up in white spaces are profoundly shaped by whiteness! Many of us act like the characters in the show, and media representing us doesn’t need to pretend that we’re not! Sasha is likely dealing with some serious internalized racism, and her behavior probably represents plenty of queer, fat black girls doing their best to fit in quite well. I do not understand why we hold the work of brown creators featuring brown actors to this impossible standard that we never impose on white media. It’s okay for stuff about us to not constantly address race. Yeah it’s everywhere and it affects every aspect of my life, but I don’t spend my days constantly engaging with it either. I’ve been that person and it nearly destroyed me.

  9. I was also so disappointed by both Fab and Devi ending up with someone who’s actually treated them quite badly, Paxton wanting to keep Devi a secret and never apologising for it, and Eve barely having a conversation with Fab all season! We really needed to see Eve and Fab on a date rather than always seeing Eve ignore her friend being super rude to her girlfriend because she doesn’t know about queer culture! It would have been nice to see Eve introduce Fab to some queer TV and then Fab finding her own queer niche (like queer scientists like the comment above or finding a black LGBTQ role model in the community). Maybe Fab could have even gone to Niecy therapy to help her with the complications of coming out! I really wasn’t rooting for Eve and Fab. I was also convinced Aneesa would be bisexual and maybe into Fab or Devi. I also felt the ED storyline wasn’t covered that well considering how triggering it is to put in the show, I wish we’d got to know Aneesa more. I really liked Nalini’s storyline and I’m glad their dynamic isn’t abusive this season. Maybe season 3 can get better and Aneesa can life her best bi life.

    • Yea, it’s like on the one hand we have the PSA about abusive teen relationships with Eleanor’s relationship and then… the two teen relationships we’re supposed to be rooting for are also… pretty problematic? The only relationship I thought was actually kind of healthy / functional was Nalini’s and then we saw where that went, which I was super disappointed by. I hope they pick up that thread next season though that ending made it really seem like they probably won’t.

      I actually really feel bad for Aneesa. Like, it’s clear that NHIE wants to play with the love triangle between Devi, Paxton & Ben for the duration of the show and so I feel like Aneesa is just set up to be hurt by it over and over again. I hope her character gets fleshed out more in the future as well.

    • I mean yea it’s disappointing, but also very realistic for girls that age.. thinking back to when I started dating in high school, at such an insecure time in life, I put up with a lot of crap I didn’t need to and so did a lot of girls.. it’s a sucky but very common part of growing up..

  10. I think this perspective is a bit skewed to an older generation (not sure how old the writer is), but Gen Z and their general outlook on things are totally different. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has said in an interview that she hasn’t ever really felt ashamed of her culture, and any racism she had in her school was more subtle comments from students and not systemic. Living in Toronto myself I can confirm that healthy diverse communities are becoming more of a reality, especially among younger people.
    Being queer, brown, biracial etc isn’t seen as a big deal for this generation the way it may have been for older ones (not that this isn’t a problem, but there have been vast improvements compared to what previous generations have had to go through).

    100% agree with P’s comment.. let’s celebrate how far we’ve come. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be seeing a Muslim character like Aneesa just portrayed as a normal and very cool girl, without having her Muslim-ness have to be such a big part of her storyline (that to me is tokenism/othering)..

    It’s really cool to see a high school portrayed where diversity is just normal and people’s races aren’t seen as an abnormality all the time..

  11. So on one hand you criticize the show’s offensive South Asian stereotypes. On the other hand, when they decide not to write an Indian mom-in-law as a stereotype and she’s fine with Nalini dating, you criticize that too? Mindy cannot win!

  12. Just a heads up, you are using the term “Afro-Latina” incorrectly. Afro-Latina means a person from (or descended from) Latin America of predominantly African ancestry. Fabiola (as well as the actress who plays her, Lee Rodriguez) is of Mexican (father) and Black American (mother) ethnicity, so is in fact mixed race, not Afro-Latina. By continuously using this term incorrectly, you are contributing to the erasure of actual Afro-Latino people, their culture and their communities.

  13. This is a very big problem for many people on the planet. Now it has developed into something more than that. Recently wrote about racial discrimination, used the website for this. I don’t understand what the problem really is. Why people started dividing each other by the color of their skins. We are not cavemen, we live in a civilized world.

  14. Why do they only have negative comments about white people, like the mom says only white children slam the door. If someone was to say only black kids slam the door it wouldn’t be ok

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