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Mindy Kaling forced to defend kids' names: 'Rude'

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·5-min read

Mindy Kaling, who secretly welcomed a baby boy earlier this year, has responded to a "rude" question by a fan who commented that her children's names are "very caucasian".

The comment appeared on a post Mindy made about featuring on the cover of Vogue India's December issue.

Mindy Kaling was forced to defend her childrens' names after a follower said they were "very caucasian". Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling
Mindy Kaling was forced to defend her childrens' names after a follower said they were "very caucasian". Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling

"I was so excited to be asked to be the cover of [Vogue India's] December issue but seriously nervous because I would have to shoot it six weeks after giving birth to my son Spencer," she wrote.

"I was not feeling body confident, and even considered saying no. But [publicist Katie Greenthal] and Vogue surrounded me with talented and wonderful people, and now I’m thrilled I have these photos as a memento of this very specific time in my life. 'Post partum pandemic fabulous' is what I like to call it. Thank you [Vogue India], I love you! More photos to come. Enjoy!"

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The commenter then wrote, "Not my business but do your children have Indian middle names? You are proud of your culture and I was wondering why the kids have very Caucasian names."

The Mindy Project star quickly responded, "They do! Swati and Avu!"

While Mindy had previously shared that her daughter Katherine's middle name is Swati, she was revealing Spencer's middle name for the first time.

Speaking of the name Swati, Mindy added another comment that read, "It's my mom's name. It's gorgeous and meaningful."

While Mindy had previously shared Katherine's full name it was the first time she revealed Spencer's. Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling
While Mindy had previously shared Katherine's full name it was the first time she revealed Spencer's. Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling

The actress also paid tribute to her father, as Spencer's middle name is her father's name.

While Mindy appeared unfazed by the comment another user responded, "This is a rude comment... I’m half Mexican and named Loraine go figure."

Another commenter added, "Certainly she can be both proud of her culture and name her children anything she wants... My half-Indian son will have an Indian middle and last name but his 'caucasian' first name doesn’t negate our pride in that part of his culture."

Someone else wrote, "India's huge and diverse and they spent a ton of time under British rule. Because of that there are Indian people who are and have been given commonly white names! They've adapted and moved forward in a way that they know, like Mindy's family and the families of some of my very Indian friends!"

Another user responded to them and said, "The truth is, our names may have absolutely nothing to do with British rule. Kerala is 20 per cent Christian and the women in my family have had names like 'Anna' or 'Susan' for the last 2,000 years, well before we were colonised.

Many of Mindy's fans weighed in the idea the actress had given her children non-Indian names. Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling
Many of Mindy's fans weighed in the idea the actress had given her children non-Indian names. Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling

"There are over 30 million Christians in India, many with names like 'Katherine'. And Catholic missionaries in the 16th century certainly left their mark before the Brits arrived."

One user also added, "Just also wanted to add this point to the discussion! There is the South Asian Diaspora who have not lived in South Asia for generations, and often they develop new cultures.

"In the Caribbean there is a sizeable South Asian community with English as their first language, and many from those countries have Christian/European first names.

"In my family, we all have names that originate in Europe (English, French, Roman) with middle names that are Arabic or Hindu. There are all sorts of South Asian stories."

In her interview with Vogue India, Mindy shared how difficult she found life during the pandemic.

"I'm very hard-working, but I'm also very social," she said. "It was a lot of growing pains at the beginning of the pandemic. It made it easier that my daughter was here because she's so fun and funny.

Mindy said the pandemic had been difficult for her because she loves her job and she's also very social. Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling
Mindy said the pandemic had been difficult for her because she loves her job and she's also very social. Photo: Instagram/MindyKaling

"In the beginning, it was a lot of just us staring at each other, but I got to know her better."

On top of being unable to see friends, Mindy was unable to see her father, who would normally be hanging out with his granddaughter every day.

His visits were reduced to saying hello to his daughter and granddaughter through a car window.

"Every day he would drive by and wear a mask and gloves and talk to Katherine through the car window," Mindy shared.

Speaking of her mother, who passed away in 2012 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just eight months earlier, Mindy said, "The best relationship I had in my life was the one with my mom.

"It was so pure and so fun and uncomplicated, and I hope that I can have that with my son or daughter—if I’m lucky, with at least one of my kids—when they get older."

Mindy has never shared the identity of the father of her two children and has previously said she won't do so until Katherine, and now Spencer, are old enough.

"My feeling is that, until I speak to my daughter about that, I'm not going to talk to anyone else about it," she told the New York Times.

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