Why I write interracial romance

The next two stories that I have coming out have something in common–they both feature Indian/Caucasian interracial relationships.

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The reason I write Indian/Caucasian romance is fairly straightforward–that’s one of my wedding photos above.  When I write an interracial relationship, my preference is to write one that looks like my own (unless there’s reason to do otherwise, as in the ghost novel).

The few times I’ve seen an Indian/White romance (particularly an Indian man with a Caucasian woman) have primarily been historical pieces set in India during the British reign.  That’s the subcontinent equivalent to the Native American man/White woman bodice rippers I stole from my mom in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Exotic male either kidnaps or serves as an antidote to the white female’s humdrum life.  James Cameron’s Titanic movie does this only within social class instead of color, as do many of the billionaire man/regular girl stories.  But in all of these scenarios, the man is exotic because of his skin color or his social class or whatever.

You almost never see an interracial couple where one partner is Indian and the other white treated matter of factly in media.  I loved Smash for many reasons (including because I’m a giant Broadway nerd), but one of them was that the Dev/Karen couple of season 1 existed.  Dev’s Indian-ness was not portrayed as exotic.  Yes, there was one Bollywood inspired number, but Raza Jaffrey’s Broadway claim to fame was that he was the male lead in Bombay Dreams, so I’m giving that a pass.  The Mindy/Danny relationship on the Mindy Project is another I’m aware of, although we haven’t gotten into the show as it’s not Netflix yet.

I want to read (and by extension write) relationships where my characters are in an interracial relationship, but where the story is about the couple instead of fetishizing the culture/skin color of one of the partners.  Obviously skin color and culture will impact that character;s day to day life, but there are ways to do so that round out a character’s personality without reducing them to stereotypes or constant racial cues. (I’m looking at you Ann M. Martin with the unending use of creamy skin or softy accented voice when referencing the Kishi family.)

I was inspired to write this because of the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseRomance, which I encourage you to go read.  Then let’s create a more diverse body of literature together.  Let’s have broad notions of what interracial looks like.  Let’s have older characters.  Let’s have characters who aren’t the image of perfection.  Let’s have characters with disabilities.  Let’s try to have the messy and complex reality of life reflected in our writing.

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