One Reddit user asked, “Was it an explicit decision to have Rachel be a white character or is that just how it turned out during casting?” — given that Ansari’s character Dev’s love interests on the show are played by the likes of white actresses such as Noel Wells (Rachel), Claire Danes and Nina Ariande.
He responded: So cool people talking about this kind of stuff and having all the conversations about race, etc. As far as Rachel (and other love interests too), we didn’t set out to cast someone white and auditioned people of all ethnic backgrounds, and wanted to cast the person I seemed to have the best chemistry with to sell this huge relationship arc. And, for the writing, I’m pulling a lot from my own real current relationship, which is with a “white” person – so we can do interesting scenes like the scene in 109 (Mornings) about the parents (which many South East Asians have told me really resonated with them and they’d never seen an interracial relationship depicted this way in TV/film before), or the awkwardness of the beginning of 110.
For the others, there was Claire Danes, who is a friend and a fucking legend in my book, so we were psyched to collaborate.
Race and dating is an intriguing issue that Alan and I have talked about in real life.
Example: Alan really did have a white girlfriend’s mom that hugged him more time in one dinner than his entire family had his whole life.
Much of this work rested on the efforts of a remarkable young man named Arcadio Huang.
Born in a small town in China’s Fujian province, Huang’s Catholic parents were set on him becoming a priest.
In 1713, Huang married a middle-class Parisian woman named Marie-Claude Regnier.
There are very few records of marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans during this time period and many considered such relationships unthinkable.
He was adopted by a French priest and later traveled to France with Bishop Artus de Lionne.
In France, he soon joined with a number of promising young French scholars to develop a Chinese-French dictionary.
Their sons Ian and Tshekedi later became significant political figures as well.