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I also see a parvenu—a racial outsider who’s trying to make it in white culture.
I understand both the culture he’s coming from and the culture he’s trying to assimilate to, and how juggling these cultures’ competing expectations can be messy.
In fact, Ansari has built his comedy around his pursuit of white women.
White America’s racial anxieties stem in part from fears about black and brown men violating white women.
Consider the caricature of the black brute, which haunted the white imagination during the Jim Crow era.
Many of us have presumed that “Grace,” the anonymous woman who had a sexual encounter with Ansari in 2017 that she describes as nonconsensual, is white.
Given Ansari’s history of dating white or white-passing women both on and off screen, it’s hard to deny a racial undercurrent tugging at the story.