Mindy Kaling was asked the most awkward question about her dating preferences


First, I guess I should give some background: Mindy Kaling has been criticized by people here and there for only casting white dudes as her love interests in The Mindy Project. I think it’s a non-issue personally, but I’m saying that as someone who generally gets hot for pale white dudes with accents. I don’t think Mindy is racist for casting white guys as her love interests, is what I’m saying. It’s just the character’s type, and Mindy dealt with the controversy by having the Mindy character get shot down by an attractive black man. So, that’s the background for this controversy.

Mindy was at the Vanity Fair Oscar party and she did the press line. She did a live interview (I guess) with E! News, and the E! reporter (Alicia Quarles) was basically awkward as hell. Here’s the last half of the video:

Quarles: “So who’s your type?”

Mindy: “Who’s my type? Good looking.”

Quarles: “Okay, so any color?”

Mindy: “Yeah…”

Quarles: “Girl, kiss some black men on that show.”

Mindy: “Oh, I have but I will…”

People are freaking out about this. CB watched the E! After show and she said that Mindy brought up the issue first by saying, about herself, “That’s that girl from that show where she kisses all the white men.” So the reporter didn’t bring it up out of the blue and was awkwardly responding to something Mindy said. Is this on Mindy? Doubtful. I think this is on the E! reporter who just sucks at red carpet banter, right? She was trying to make a reference to The Mindy Project controversy (non-controversy) and instead of taking a moment to think about the wording, Quarles just blurted out “Okay, so any color?” Girl, we’re not shopping for socks.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

73 Responses to “Mindy Kaling was asked the most awkward question about her dating preferences”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Ag says:

    Ugh. Her preferences, or lack thereof, are her business. Awkward and unnecessary.

    “Reporters” should confront people like Chelsea about her blatant racism and not look for controversy where it doesn’t exist, like with Mindy.

  2. idk says:

    I saw that interview as it happened live and I was surprised by the reporter. I have seen many interviews by this reporter and she always speaks to people as if they are her “bff” as if she forgets the cameras are rolling. I mean she’s not a bad reporter, she just has her own way of asking questions. We need to remember the world is not just “black” and “white”. I can ask her why she hasn’t dated a Chinese guy on the show too right? Or Mexican. Or Indian. The list goes on. It’s just a show. Her character likes White guys, so if they only show her dating white guys what’s the big deal? Has anyone asked Kim Kardashian why she only dates “black” guys? Her preference is her preference.

  3. Anna says:

    Almost all the WOC I saw comenting on this on the Internet (on various social media platforms) thought it was kind of funny and agreed with the reporter in a sense.. It was awkward wording on the reporter’s side but Mindy did kind of open it up with the white guy comment first.
    I kind of like that the reporter said something but at the same time it’s Mindy’s business with whoever she wants to cast, but I bet this interview is going to be in the back of her mind the next time she casts a love interest in her show

  4. WendyNerd says:

    It’s a nontroversy. People just stirring up drama.

  5. jaye says:

    Meh…your preference is your preference. I hate it, however, when people try to “justify” their preference by saying crap like “I only date x because y is so (fill in negative stereotype)”. Just be with who you like to be with.

    And as for Alicia Quarles…she is one of the most awkward interviewers I’ve ever seen. Whenever she’s interviewing someone I end up cringing because she is just TOO familiar with celebrities. And you can tell some of the celebs are like “who IS this heifer?”. She just tries TOO HARD to sound like she and the interviewee are friends like that. SO cringeworthy.

  6. Renee says:

    Okay. Full disclosure: I didn’t watch the video because I am stressed right now and don’t want to deal with awkwardness this early in the morning. But I also think that the way that Mindy deals with race on her show is EXTREMELY problematic. I think that it is weird/problematic/discouraging that there are rarely any other people of color on her show, and that the one black character that is on there, the nurse, is a walking stereotype of black women, I guess we should just be happy that she’s not super angry all the time??? She seems to take pains to paint herself as outside of the norms/expectations of a Desi/East Indian woman so would it really be that difficult for her to create other complex characters of color??

    On the other hand, I get the sense that she does not necessarily want to be held up as an example as a “woman of color” and dates mainly white men in her personal life and this translates into how the show is written.

  7. Nina says:

    Why do people love to split hairs and scrutinize woman-led shows? “Girls” is too white/classist, “Mindy Project” is racist because so far all of her love interests are white, etc. What about all of the white-bread casts (usually with one token person of colour because yanno, DIVERSITY!) on shows produced by white men (which are most shows on TV)? This show 1.) is created by a female of colour, 2.) stars said female, who also happens not to be emaciated like most other actresses in the LEAD role, 3.) is funny, and 4.) features interracial coupling. That makes this show kind of a big deal. But let’s forget about all of that because she has not yet had a black dude as a love interest. It’s in its second season, for crying out loud! It just seems as though woman-fronted/created shows are held up to a much higher standard than shows produced by men, like any show created by a lady has to be perfectly inclusive, perfectly representative of its target demographic, etc.. Are there flaws with some shows made by women? Sure, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the mere existence of such shows is important.

    • idk says:

      Agreed ! Not only that, but perhaps she might want a Mexican love interest, or Chinese, or Lebanese. The dude doesn’t have to be African American. Who cares? It’s like “oh if you don’t date a black guy ever, that means you’re racist”. No it doesn’t. She can continue to keep dating white guys and I still won’t say she’s racist. That’s just her preference (for her character on the show).

      • SonjaMarmeladova says:

        Mexican and Lebanese dudes are white.

      • idk says:

        Most people don’t normally equate Lebanese or Mexican with being “white”. I understand the history and what your’re referring to though. So don’t get me wrong. When someone says “I only date White guys”, you mostly think of those guys with British, Dutch, Irish, Scottish type backgrounds or a mix of those. Get what I’m saying?

      • SonjaMarmeladova says:

        But isn’t that offensive?
        In my country they would all be white. I don’t understand why culture is equalised with race. I guess you have to be from the US to understand which “shade” you have to be to be called white.
        So, Shakira is not white?

      • Alexis says:

        @sonja Mexican is a nationality not a race. There are white, black, native, and mixed Mexicans. The most common is mostly native and like a quarter Spanish. This is analogous to to African American composition, which is usually mostly black with some white. So, most Mexicans do not look white or consider themselves as such. So I think that is what the commentator had in mind. While t is wrong to say there are no white Mexicans it is also wrong to say all are white. Even more wrong, in a way, because most Mexicans are not white.

      • idk says:

        @ SonjaMarmeladova

        In North America, Shakira would be considered “Latina”. I know she is part Colombian and part Lebanese…but this is how she is portrayed in the media. I’ve never heard anyone call Shakira “White”. It’s hard to explain why Americans think this way, perhaps lack of knowledge. I don’t know.

      • SonjaMarmeladova says:

        When I was in school, we learned a racial classification which would even put Mindy under white. I believe even native Americans would fall under that term. I apologize if I offended anyone.

      • idk says:

        @ SonjaMarmeladova

        You said nothing offensive. I completely understand where you’re coming from. This just proves that even though the world seems to be more “connected” we still view things vastly different depending on where you live.

      • Ennie says:

        Most people in Mexico just think of themselves as “Mexicans”.
        Many of us are aware that some people up in our genealogy tree were “fairer” or “darker”, but they were mot probably just called Mexicans.
        YEs ,there are the “Native Mexicans” and they call themselves with their own ethnical names, but they are usually “pure” or “purer”, and there are the odd families with foreign roots and mixes, European, Asian, etc. Mot of them have assimilated but there are a few that socialize in their own community and like to keep their language or traditions (they do not assimilate much, and often marry within) , like Lebanese, German, Jewish, and a few Mexicans with Spanish origins who like to claim their hundreds of years long heritage, they also marry and socialize with people they know, usually in small towns far in the mountains (and everyone ends up being a cousin and marrying their uncle, but hey they did not marry a poorer “new incomer” or a native!
        I find SO odd the way everyone has a classification, I understand it is a cultural thing. but the questioning of my ethnical components is really weird, I am used to be just a Mexican, even when I am taller than most, with kind of fair skin and hair and green eyes!
        When I went to visit the US, people who asked me that question, seemed disappointed when I said “Mexican”. SMH.

      • Alexis says:

        @Ennie — thanks for the perspective! my bf is half-Mexican and what you said really summarized well how most Mexicans seem to see themselves if his family is any indication. it’s pretty cool. :)

        @sonja – of course you weren’t offensive! your interpretation of race seems to be pretty non-standard here in the US (i thought i you were talking about the old cauc/neg/mong/dravd classification till you mentioned native americans as “white,” never heard that before), but it all goes to show that all this stuff is relative, and there are many ways of interpreting identity…

      • Sooloo says:

        @idk – so it’s Americans’ “lack of knowledge” for thinking this way, but you’re *not* also lacking in knowledge (or just non-generalizing behavior) by lumping 300+ million people under this umbrella? Not every media outlet in the U.S. portrays Shakira in the same manner, and not every person in the U.S., whether they pay attention to the media or not, thinks of her in solely one way either. Way to completely disregard all the individual experiences that also contribute to one’s notion of culture and race, beyond what “mainstream” may appear to project.

      • idk says:

        @ Sooloo

        In some cases it is simply a lack of knowledge. I obviously am not talking about ALL Americans. I am mostly going by what the media portrays as “White”. Actually pretty much EVERY medial outlet in America portrays Shakira as a non-white female. Please name me one that doesn’t. Oh jeez, I didn’t mean to imply ALL Americans. Everyone knows that not ALL people think the same. I was referring to the image of “white people” in the general media. Understand now? I have no idea what tone you wrote your comment in, but you seemed upset and there is no need for that. The are many views on this topic and each person has valid points. Have a nice day.

    • Chicagogurl says:

      Unfortunately I think primtime woman and minority’lead driven shows are held unfairly to much hugher standard because they aren’t the norm so they have to get this right for everyone almost. Completely unfair. Until these type of shows become the norm people will continue to gripe about how this doesn’t cover all of it, but since this is their only option, it should do this this and this…..minday has to just date every race, color and creed because a 30yr + intelligent woman can’t know her preference. How dare she not speak to every woman!

      • Nina says:

        True. I think that some of the criticism of shows created by women also has to do with the fact that in the patriarchal society we live in, we are automatically otherized by being women. There’s this idea (perpetuated by society of course) that second class, “other” citizens (anyone who isn’t a straight white male) all have this mutual understanding of each other’s experiences, that we’re supposed to “get” each other because we’re all equally oppressed. So when given an opportunity to create a narrative, we are held responsible for accurately representing basically everyone who isn’t a straight white guy.

  8. Luffy says:

    Seems a little hypocritical for people like Mandy to advocate for more women of color on television and then have white people for a love interest almost exclusively. It’s the same complaint that black males tend to get when they can complain about racism and predujice against them for their skin color and then surround themselves with non black women. Who she dates in her personal life is one thing, who she chooses to bring on her show as a love interest is another. I think anyone has a right to question mindy in her decision to represent white men as love interests for her character. Her show is not a vacuum, being a woman of color does not shield you from the same criticism you levy against others.

    • Renee says:


      I agree with you 100%.

    • SonjaMarmeladova says:

      I’ve actually read a lot of blogs that criticised black men for datinf white women. Why is that a problem?

    • Mallory says:

      So Mindy’s character should date a bunch of men of all different races just so she has other people of color on-screen? That argument doesn’t make sense to me. Just because she is a woman of color doesn’t mean she is only attracted to men of color. Having a diverse set of characters, who are multi-dimensional, and exist outside the dimensions of tropes and stereotypes is more important and interesting to me as a viewer.

      Take Tamra, who is black, and her boyfriend Ray Ron, who is white. Their relationship isn’t about some Benetton ideal – those two characters make sense together (although personally, I’d love to see her with Morgan). Compare that to the criticism of Lena Dunham. She made a show about living in New York but then had ZERO people of color. It is not about throwing some random person in an episode to appease your critics (Donald Glover, GIRLS, season 2) but rather being true to the context of the show and the characters.

      Long story short, this interview was awkward and dumb. You love who you love.

    • Irishserra says:

      How can you compare Mindy’s fictional character’s choices with a black man’s personal ones and then follow up it with “Who she dates in her personal life is one thing, who she chooses to bring on her show as a love interest is another.”?

      You are right when you say that being a person of color does not shield one from the same criticism levied against others, but that criticism is strictly on the critics. Mindy has no responsibility whatsoever to tailor her fictional character’s tastes on her own fictional show to just to please those who are looking to create drama and controversy where there really should be none.

      As Nerd Alert so aptly put it, #nontroversy.

  9. Dena says:

    Isn’t the question itself kind of racist? They’d never think to ask a white actress why she’s never dated (or cast as a love interest) a man of color, right? So why ask a WOC?
    (Full disclosure: I’m the whitest of white Scandinavian girls so apologies if this is offensive – I’m honestly curious).

    • Nina says:

      Dating is such a tricky thing. There are a lot of people who totally buy into the “if you never date outside of your race, that makes you racist” notion. Though I’m totally open to dating a dude from any background, I don’t know if you can just insist that someone who’s only dated members of their own race is a racist. If someone is totally into you, but the colour of their skin is a deal breaker, then okay, you have some things to work through. But we don’t know enough about people’s experiences to just claim that because they’ve only had white/black/Asian/whatever partners, they’re racists. We don’t know the cultural demographics of where they’ve grown up, who they’ve been attracted to (but maybe not dated), what their upbringing was like, etc. I don’t think it’s as, pardon the pun, black and white an issue as some claim it is.

      • Dena says:

        @Nina, I agree with you. So much of dating is subjective, or opportunity. I’ve only dated white guys, so if you were judging me on that you could call me racist. But I’ve been attracted to African-American men – one in particular was a good friend, but he always had a girlfriend when I was single, or id have a boyfriend when he was single, etc. So timing was off. Other men just never asked me out (and I was too chickensh*t in my 20′s to ask them).
        So I think it’s far too simplistic to state someone’s a racist because they’ve only dated one race when there are many other factors that influence our dating lives.

  10. nicole says:

    Thank you for including a reference to the first half of the interview! I opened this up expecting it to be like most other sites that are just posting the controversial part, which when taken out of context sounds horrible. In context it just sounds super awkward and inappropriate, but it wasn’t like the question came out of the blue like a lot of sites are kind of spinning it as. Still, come on now reporter…

  11. Nancy says:

    What a stupid question I’m sick of people criticizing Mindy for only casting and or dating white guys that’s clearly her personal preference. I know there are some women who don’t like her just because of that but it’s like taking a gun to someones head and saying “Hey you better date this guy you’re not attracted to because I want you to” screw them!

    Anyway, Mindy looked gorgeous in that black dress.

  12. Nerd Alert says:

    Damn. Every dude I’m attracted to right now has light skin/hair/eyes. Suppose I’m racist, too. Or is just my libido racist? #nontroversy

    • idk says:

      Exactly. Also, I would have loved to see Mindy respond to the reporter “Have you ever dated an Indian guy? No? Well why not?”. I’d love to see how the reporter would reply.

    • Yeah, I don’t understand why she was even asked this. I didn’t even notice the lack of ‘ color’ in her dates…

      But I will say this–my mom has only had kids with white guys–she’s black. And the reason for that is because when she joined the Navy at 18 in the late eighties, all of the black men on there wanted white girlfriends, and made it clear to her that she was the last choice. She said to me that they could be boyfriend and girlfriend Monday through Thursday, but Friday night–she couldn’t find them. So she pretty much gave up on exclusively dating black guys (even though they’re who she’s most attracted to) and started dating anyone who would want to date her–white dudes.

      It was funny, because I used to always wonder why she only had kids with white guys, but she was always talking about how fine black men were.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        That’s interesting, Virgilia. So much goes into these things.

        I have a good friend who went through puberty in Japan while his dad was stationed there. He finds Asians and women with heavy accents to be the most attractive, regardless of body type, height, or weight. However, there aren’t many women with those particular traits here in Northern Colorado, so he ended up marrying a white woman who is shy, but extremely high-maintenance (all of his girlfriends have been particularly high-maintenance). We discussed this openly one day, and these are traits he associates with Japanese women he grew up around.

  13. Laura says:

    This is ridiculous. Perhaps they should have a checklist and make sure she kisses some Asian and brown men too.

    • idk says:

      Seriously, and perhaps different ages, from 18-90, with different body types as I haven’t seen her date a chubby dude yet on the show. And why hasn’t she dated a guy with red hair yet either? The list can go on an on….why hasn’t the character dated a woman on the show yet. Is she homophobic? See how ridiculous this sounds?

  14. Relli says:

    This is so aggravating. AS a brown girl who grew up like an ink spot in a bowl of milk these sort of questions really raise my ire. Mindy Kaling has been more than forth coming that she grew up similarly going to exclusive private schools and grew up upper middle class. Do you know what the majority of the people are in these situations…. lets put it this way there is not an abundance of POC. I feel like her show reflects her life or at least a parallel life to her own, like an alternative universe had she not become an actress/writer.

    NOW with that said, I DO find it a little ridiculous that she lives in a only white world on the show. That to me seems a bit unrealistic given that they are suppose to be in NYC and the only character is who isn’t is a sassy black woman. Shoot girl even I found friends within my cultural background once I moved out suburbia and most of them I work with in a professional environment in a large city.

    I feel like the Mindy Project is struggling an perhaps its a little too focused on the many loves of Mindy who are um yes a type. While funny and certainly something I can relate to as some one who used to have a lot of terrible dates and relationships. I feel like this show was better when it was more of an ensemble and the minor characters had story lines and were not just there as human props to guide Mindy.

  15. MSMLNP says:

    Somewhat off topic: Her book is hilarious!

  16. Renee says:

    I think that what people are not acknowledging is that there are all sorts of reasons as to why we are attracted to the people who we are…and societal constructs play a role in this!! Although there is a wider berth of racial/body types that are considered to be attractive nowadays let’s not pretend that in North America that we aren’t constantly bombarded with images that tell us whiteness is the norm and the most desirable!!!! Part of the reason why people rally around Mindy is because she is a Desi woman who is not a size 2 nor exceptionally beautiful and she is making it on television. It’s disingenuous to then state that we don’t understand why race has to be brought into the discussion. Just because we think that Mindy is a smart, together woman doesn’t mean that she is immune to subscribing to the notions of white supremacy.

    I also think that there may be pressures for Mindy on her show that we are not aware of. The network could be clamoring for her to not skew too “ethnic” with its content or cast. We don’t know. I don’t think that this necessarily holds up as an excuse, and I am not buying it either but we can’t say for certain what is going on.

  17. Sarah says:

    I can so relate to this, not that I’m comparing myself to Mindy or anything. As a South Asian woman, I have lost count of the times random people have approached me to ask whether I would date outside my “nationality”. I’m not even sure what that’s supposed to mean since my nationality is Canadian. And if I say yes, they go all bug-eyed and commend me for being westernized. Seriously?

    • idk says:

      And if you said “no” they’d call you a racist. There is nothing wrong with wanting to date/marry someone with a similar cultural background as yourself. And yes, I hate it when people ask about “Nationality”. It’s a lack of education. A person’s nationality simply represents the country they were born in.

      • Julia says:

        I disagree. Citizenship is usually about where we were born (sometimes you get one automatically like in US, no matter where your parents are from), nationality is something definitely more about your values, way of living, thinking, whole culture thing and usually belonging to some ethnic group. If that wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t be so many conflicts about on those grounds.

  18. Marianne says:

    Maybe she just prefers white guys. Nothing wrong with that. Michaael Fassbender seems to prefer black women. Nothing wrong with that either.

  19. Not That Big of... says:

    IDK, I saw the interview live and actually didn’t think it was that BIG of a deal… maybe her wording could have been different but it was light banter, nothing major or at least not that important for the media to have pick up on and ran with, but that’s just my opinion.

    I think this whole world has gone so Politicall correct to the point where you can’t say ANYTHING anymore without being called out…

    IDK, I also like Alicia Quarrels, she’s cute!

  20. yurtcurt says:

    I think that Mindy, herself being not the average tv sitcom female lead, should use that platform to help talented people that aren’t the status quo (thin white men) get show shine too. I used to watch the show but that aspect of it really annoyed me. For a lot of reasons.
    The comparison with the show ‘Girls’, first off, the show did get a lot of criticism, but I would say, Dunham gives other women the space to be seen in interesting ways, even if it’s only white women.
    I say this as a person of colour.
    And I agree with the poster above who says that it’s all good to have preferences, but let’s not forget that preferences have cultural context too.
    Also, dammit why can’t I see some hot south Asian dudes on TV anywhere?

    • idk says:

      Her show is only 2 seasons in. If she hit us with too much too fast, some people would get turned off. Perhaps she’s doing it slowly? We’ll see but anyways, if her character likes white guys, then let it be. She doesn’t need to date a different ethnicity each week of the show. That would look way too deliberate and unrealistic as most women have a “type” and usually stick to that one type, whatever that may be. The American public has to get used to having an Indian girl as the lead in a show first. As this has been a long time coming…

      • vangroovey says:

        It makes me so sad that in 2014 people are sensitive about “hitting us with too much too fast.” What? It’s upsetting to see non-white people on TV?

        As far as this incident goes, I have a hard time mustering any sympathy or good-will for Mindy. I, personally, do think she has some yet to be worked out issues surrounding race (the way she depicts black people on her show is cringe-worthy, IMO). And until she does that, I cannot hop aboard the Mindy train. And I wanted to — but nope. Wow, my blood pressure is rising; this woman really gets under my skin. Strange.

      • yurtcurt says:

        I’m also not just talking about racial diversity, frankly. Has anyone here seen ‘Super Fun Night’? The unconventionally attractive females date unconventionally attractive males. Why does Mindy go for the exact same type of guy? There’s no one odd-looking, like Adam from girls, or chubby. The show, to me, reminds me of any generic rom-com, and the fact that she’s not who would normally be cast is glossed over, until she milks it for a joke, only to be ignored for the rest of the show.
        But that said, I applaud what she’s doing and what she has achieved,

  21. Maureen says:

    Maybe she just prefers white men, just like some women prefer black men or Latino men.

  22. Sooloo says:

    This discussion would’ve also been interesting in the “Sex and the City” days (not sure if it did happen then, but I don’t remember if it did) – was it ever brought up why, out of the millions of men in NYC only a handful, if that, of the ladies’ love interests were not white? I remember Miranda dating Blair Underwood, and Samantha dating the brother of a chef (who told her off because she didn’t approve of her brother dating a white woman), but that was it. Were there ever any Asian love interests or Latino love interests? And if no, why was there not any fuss made about the apparent paucity in men of “other” backgrounds in a city as vast and diverse as NYC? Why is the criticism (and speculation) reserved only for a non-white female?

  23. kibbles says:

    Why are women criticised for having racial preferences, but the media bombards us with white men who date only white women or Asian women. Asian men are rarely shown on television, and if they are shown, it is quite rare that they are matched to any woman. The Walking Dead is the only current show I can think of in which an Asian man is dating a white woman. That Cheerios commercial portrays an interracial black man/white woman family and people go crazy. Anyone heard of yellow fever? Asian fetishes? They are shown everywhere in the media with white men/Asian women couples. No one questions these men for having obvious racial preferences. But if a woman is shown with a man of a different race from hers, people notice immediately. Mindy can have as many white guys on the show as she wants. If that is her personal preference, it’s her show and her choice. Give me a break.