After trying to talk to her parents about the idea of being introduced to me, she said her parents were not budging on the “racial issue.” To clarify on what she meant by that, I said, “So her parents didn’t want her to talk to me because I am Black.” My friend was quite apologetic over the phone after confirming this as the reason, but she deserved no blame in this situation as she was just trying to help a brother out.Nevertheless, this scenario happens too often within our community.Yet, as these stars continue to rise, they’ve had their fair share of criticism come their way about their choice in romantic partners on the big and small screen.The gist of the critique is that both of these South Asian actors from Muslim backgrounds chose white women as their main love interest, and by doing so, they perpetuate the idea that those with fair skin, and more specifically white women, are the epitome of beauty and desirability.Various other ethnicities attend these mosques as well for their spiritual fulfillment.Yet, despite the mixing of ethnicities at the mosque during prayer, the social groups that form outside of the mosque are quite homogenous.Kumail Nanjiani and Aziz Ansari are at the top of their game right now.With the release of The Big Sick and the second season of Master of None, both have reached a level of success in their career that few South Asian actors have come close to.
Specifically, I’m referring to the dynamics of dating and relationships within the Muslim American community and how my community has absorbed some of the standards that Nanjiani and Ansari are accused of perpetuating in their craft. Even though there are vastly more opportunities to meet people now than there ever were in the past, it’s still hard to connect with others.
The same questions that a Joe Schmoe on Coffee Meets Bagel has to navigate are very similar to the ones Muslims ask themselves when looking for a partner.
Questions of chemistry, physical attraction, intellectual compatibility, and life goals are all present.
Taking into account both native and foreign born Muslims, the Pew study suggests that South Asians and Arabs together make up the majority of the Muslims in America, followed by a sizable number of Black Muslims, and the rest comprising a hodge podge of various other Muslim nations as mentioned above.
Despite the inherent diversity within the Muslim American community, these community social spaces tend to remain segregated.