Indian American couple from ‘Love is Blind’ not so blind when it comes to race and attraction

love is blind couple
  • The “Love is Blind” Season 2 finale airs tomorrow, and people wonder whether one of the show’s most popular couples, Indian American couple Deepti Vempati and Abhishek “Shake” Chatterjee will say “I do” at the altar.
  • Shake confessed on several occasions that he did not feel physically attracted to Deepti, and compared his feelings towards her as “aunt” like, despite finding nothing wrong with her appearance or personality.
  • The two originally bonded over a shared culture but repeatedly mentioned throughout the series that neither had dated people of any ethnicity “but white” before meeting the other.
  • As many social media users have brought up, this seems to point to the larger issue of internalized racism, in which people organize and adopt a racial hierarchy often based on stereotypes or conceptions. In these rankings, ‘white’ racial identities most always bring a level of prestige and high status.

Netflix airs the finale of “Love is Blind” tomorrow, and fans are wondering whether the show’s Indian American couple will say “I do” despite issues with physical attraction.  

In the show, 15 men and 15 women spent their first week doing one-on-one talk sessions in pods, separated by a wall, so they could not see each other’s faces. After a romantic vacation, moving in together and meeting each other’s families, all in the span of three weeks, couples then meet at the altar in the final episode and are given the choice to go through with the wedding and be married, or break up. 

The show’s cast is more ethnically diverse than in its previous season with its addition of its first Asian American couple and Black American couple. Despite the show’s original intent of encouraging couples to fall in love irrespective of race, class and appearances, it is clear that these categories not only make their way into the relationships but play a role in how the initial attraction plays out. 

When 31-year-old, Indian American Deepti Vempati entered the pods with 33-year-old, Indian American Abhishek “Shake” Chatterjee, he immediately identified her as Indian by her name. Right off the bat, he confessed that his previous serious relationship partners have “all been blond.”

Deepti laughed and responded, “I also go for the blonds,” and added, “I’ve actually only dated white guys before.”

The two immediately connected as “brown people that only date white people.” 

As a Huffington Post article previously noted, they both “proudly” claimed this profile. In one sense, the attraction demonstrates two people deeply connecting over a shared life experience; however, as many social media users brought up, it is also clearly an example of how racism – even self-inflicted – inevitably manifests in a lot of relationships.

Internalized racism refers to both a conscious and subconscious acceptance of a racial hierarchy in which stereotypes or racial markers are used to organize races into rankings. In these rankings, “white” racial identities most always bring a level of prestige and high status, and in turn, an internalized racism often affects how people perceive themselves and their own value in society. By establishing themselves as not only desirable to a white partner, but also being able to exclusively date white partners, both Deepti and Shake perhaps signal to the bigger issue of how the race of dating partners comes with a certain perceived status.  

Featured image via Netflix

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