Niranga Amarasinghe, the only brown man on both Angie Kent’s season of the Bachelorette and the current season of Bachelor in Paradise, has come under fire after he had a go at Cass and called her a “princess” in last night’s episode.
Niranga was criticised pretty heavily for this, with people in basically every Bachie Facebook group I’m in criticising him for not respecting Cass’ interests, etc etc. The Pedestrian TV recap called him a “grade A douche” and referred to his behaviour as “pretty grotty.”
But honestly – I agree with Niranga, and I think anyone who thinks he’s wrong really hasn’t looked at the situation properly, because there’s some weird racial dynamics at play here that warrant a discussion.
Thought #BachelorInParadiseAU would be a bit of fun but it’s infuriating.
The tokenism with Niranga – no screen time, depicted as undateable. Fuels the idea that POC are inferior/unattractive.
Raging hypocrites Ciaran & Timm acting like women are their property.
It’s 2020 FFS
— Kamran Ahmed (@DocKamran) July 29, 2020
For starters, Cass has been emasculating and using Niranga the entire season. During his “attack” (oh please), he calls her out for leading him on and using him for roses. He says she asked for massages, and constantly demands that he get her drinks. Specifically, he says when one of the other guys would get his Bachie-girlfriend a drink, Cass would say to him “where’s mine?”.
Cass doesn’t deny this, and instead blames him for continuing to pursue her despite her behaviour. She then accuses him of picking on her personal flaws, and he pretty much gives up trying to articulate himself.
There was so much about this scene that enraged me, so let’s get to it.
It seems, from Niranga’s undisputed account of their relationship, that Cass has been leading Niranga on, treating him as a bit of man-servant, and Niranga understandably takes this to mean interest and potential between them. He likes her, and thinks she likes him too because she’s giving him roses, getting foot massages off him, and getting drinks with him.
Cass has been using Niranga as a literal slave because she knows he likes her and now he’s calling her out on it she’s playing the victim “he’s digging into me for no reason” #BachelorInParadiseAU pic.twitter.com/kCy0O6ydBF
— Nathalie Jerez (@barrio_bruja) July 29, 2020
Now, while I absolutely think women have the right to revoke interest in men, and that men getting shitty about being friend-zoned is super gross, I don’t think this is one of those situations – especially since it looks like she didn’t explicitly tell him she wasn’t interested until much later. In fact, I actually think the racial dynamic at play between these two is fucked and that’s most of why I’m so angry about it.
Before we even get into the race play here, I want to point out that we were all outraged watching Jamie mess about and give Litney mixed signals – so why don’t we care that Cass has done the same thing to Niranga? Is it because of our inherent belief in white female innocence? Why can’t we see her as the aggressor in this confrontation?
Dating for brown men is hard. In fact, it can often fucking suck. They either have to deal with Western stereotypes of them being creepy or desperate, or they are emasculated and treated like pets by white women. Which seems to be the case with Niranga and Cass – who literally called him “gross” to the camera.
Treating Niranga like this just perpetuates the idea that Asian men aren’t romantically or sexually attractive. It is hugely damaging to young men in our communities. I can’t believe we have to keep saying it: tokenism is worse than no representation at all. #BachelorInParadiseAU
— Dash Jayasuriya (@gameonmoll) July 28, 2020
The whole “give me a foot massage, get me a drink” screams colonial slavery, and the optics of the only brown man giving a white woman foot rubs while she leads him on is not lost on me. Honestly, as a brown person myself, it made me so uncomfortable. It feels as though Niranga is treated as “less than” the other men, just because of his skin colour.
I would love to see Twitter light up if Niranga said these things about Cass. “yuck” “gross” “give me a foot rub though”#BachelorInParadiseAU
— Jessica Riley (@jesrily) July 29, 2020
Then there’s the fact that Cass laughs to the camera about Niranga’s name, making jokes about how hard it was to pronounce and how it took her two weeks to even remember it.
Now I’m only going off what I saw on the show, but this part was horrific to me – the fact that she could use Niranga’s name as a punchline and something to laugh about was gross and quite frankly racist. As a brown person who has had white people make fun of my “exotic” or “complicated” name, this hit deep.
I’ve had white people give me Anglicised names (Sally, Leah) instead of actually using mine because it’s “easier” and mine is “too hard to pronounce.” When they have learned it, they’ve made a point of it – as if learning my ethnic name is a favour and not a basic decency.
What’s wrong with going on a date with Niranga? I’m going to say it but we all know it’s a race thing. #BachelorInParadiseAU
— DL (@bodhitreesays) July 28, 2020
The name-jokes and stereotypical emasculation around Niranga is peak casual racism in White Australia, and it was infuriating to watch. Niranga was friend-zoned by most of the girls and never really treated as someone with romantic or sexual potential – and I think we all know why.
Yesterday, Niranga was eliminated and uploading a blistering Instagram story accusing a contestant of outright racism, as she told others that she would never bring Niranga home to her parents due to his race.
— Naaman Zhou (@naamanzhou) July 29, 2020
Hmm, I wonder who this is about?
It looks to me that Niranga was treated badly by Cass, yet he played into her weird favour-driven narrative for the sake of a rose or some kind of romantic potential. When he eventually snapped and tried to call her out, she victimised herself and gaslit him.
It’s not okay, and Niranga was well within his rights to have a go at her for it and call out her behaviour.
Image Sources: Twitter