Humor & Identity | Soumya Dhulekar
Texts From White Women After The Election is based directly on my experience after the election results. I am not a U.S. citizen, I am a permanent resident. I went to sleep on election night thinking that Hillary had to win, so I did not need to be there for the unnecessary suspense. I woke up to 10-12 texts and knew that Trump had won.
I thought these texts were from my mom or my friends who are POC, but they were all from white women! And the texts were all so sad and whiny and looking to me for answers! I even got calls from white women crying on the phone, wanting us to emotionally support each other through the election aftermath. I knew these texts and calls were intended to make me feel supported, but they actually made me angry. I realized these women thought that just because we are all women, we are equal, and we could talk about this election together. We absolutely cannot -- white women and women of color do not have the same experiences in the U.S. I could not even vote in this election. I had never felt more isolated.
Around that time, I was a year into doing comedy and had started doing stand-up, and I used the medium as a platform to write jokes to get out my frustrations. I noticed that women of color really responded to my jokes about white women after the election. I began to bring more humor into my comics and illustrations to aggressively and unapologetically talk about my Indian American identity -- everything from immigration struggles to my obsession with my office chair. My comics eventually evolved into a diary comic series project on Instagram, and then I started taking those comics and turning them into animations to screen at comedy shows. I Am Not Jay-Z is the first comic I turned into an animation.