Aziz Ansari Knows People Were Mad That He Only Dated A White Woman On “Master Of None”

By now, you’ve probably watched “Master of None,” Aziz Ansari’s brilliant slice-of-life Netflix series, which debuted last Friday to rave reviews. It’s a good show. It’s a solid, nuanced  debut from a man who, prior to this, was best known for coining the phrase “Treat Yo’self” and being kind of annoying on the dearly-departed “Parks and Recreation.”

But along with the praise for “Master of None,” the backlash over who Ansari’s character, Dev, chooses to date, has bubbled up. Ansari addressed this in his Reddit AMA, which should hopefully clear up any further discussion.

The question, from Redditor AsianManLife:

Hello Aziz and Alan! I loved your show and THANK YOU for representing Asian Americans in a humanizing portrayal and attacking the stereotypes.

My question is about Aziz in the show only dating White women. Was there any thought given to addressing the disparity between Asian women in media dating mostly or exclusively White men and Asian men in media hardly dating anyone at all? Did you guys want to bring up discussion about this by doing the reverse in your show?

And, Ansari’s answer, which is graceful and dignified.

So cool people talking about this kind of stuff and having all the conversations about race, etc. since the show premiered. As far as Rachel (and other love interests too), we didn’t set out to cast someone white and auditioned people of all ethnic backgrounds, and wanted to cast the person I seemed to have the best chemistry with to sell this huge relationship arc. In the end, Noel blew us away. And, for the writing, I’m pulling a lot from my own real current relationship, which is with a “white” person – so we can do interesting scenes like the scene in 109 (Mornings) about the parents (which many South East Asians have told me really resonated with them and they’d never seen an interracial relationship depicted this way in TV/film before), or the awkwardness of the beginning of 110.

Bottom line – if we did a hundred episodes, we definitely wouldn’t have Dev date a hundred white women a la Jerry Seinfeld in the hit television comedy Seinfeld. Race and dating is an intriguing issue that Alan and I have talked about in real life. Example: Alan really did have a white girlfriend’s mom that hugged him more time in one dinner than his entire family had his whole life.

Okay? Okay. He heard you. Remember that “Master of None” is just one show, and while the questions raised by many about the strange whitewashing of his romantic relationships on the show are valid, it’s unfair to expect one show by one person to show the wide swath of human experience. Cross your fingers for a second season, one that can effectively tackle interracial relationships in a nuanced and truthful way, and until then, be glad that some progress has been made. [Reddit]