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I had overwhelming student loans, made much less money then him, and in those years right after September 11, I stopped being able to fly and was harassed on those Washington, D. Even I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening to my South Asian and Muslim communities – how could he could ever understand? People haven’t forgetten about Gandhi.” *** When you are dating as a woman of color, it’s a struggle. You wonder what your significant other will say when they see the peeling paint on the walls of your parents’ house, or the roof that needs repair.Around the 2004 election season cycle, our relationship started getting tense. But when you are “poor” and dating, the struggles are nuanced and different. How what you thought was a middle class home will be perceived as less than when viewed by privileged eyes.I wanted to be in a relationship where I could be my full self, no explanation or education needed. How you do yoga at home, but fail to mention that it’s because Indophile yogis in Silverlake studios annoy you.He embodied privilege: white privilege, class privilege, gender privilege, education privilege. Nod when they note the Third World poverty of your motherland.I promised myself that I would never actively date a white man again. You avoid conversations about how you had to work as a teen or how your parents borrow money from you.

“Well, yes, it started out as a political decision but it has manifested into preference. I just don’t find white men that attractive anymore.” “Do you find that limiting? I would later learn how living in a society where positive or attractive images of brown men and women were marginalized or non-existent would affect who I thought was attractive.“It was an article in which you talk about how difficult it is to date,” he continued. When we broke up ten years ago, we made bets on who would get married first. He reached out a couple of times a year to see how I was doing. He wasn’t the first guy I was in love with, but he was first in many other ways – first boyfriend, first Thanksgiving, first parental unit meeting, first living together. His grandmother made aloo gobi for me at Thanksgiving. As far as I was concerned, I would only marry a white guy – if I was to get married at all.How could I be in a relationship with a person who constantly reminded me of how much I was lacking? *** A few years later, at the age of 27, I was at my parents’ house talking to my Mom about an article I had been working on where I used Census data to figure out how many eligible single Bangladeshi males existed in Los Angeles County. And the chances of them being not stupid is really slim.” “Yes, there aren’t a lot of smart ones,” she agreed. Pretend to know enough about South Asian foreign policy so you don’t look stupid when they mention something they learned in their private school education.But, I didn’t break up with him because he was white. “So you see, Mother,” I said, “there are only 21 potential Bangladeshi males that I might be able to date in the entire L. “But you know, he doesn’t have to be Bangladeshi.” “I know, Mom.” “He could be… Talk about the non-violence movement and smile when they say Gandhi is inspiring.

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Don’t talk about family vacations as a child – because your only family vacations involved seeing extended family in Bangladesh.

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