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What It’s Like to Be “Exotic”

Earlier this year on the podcast, we discussed the peculiar Hollywood trend of referring to Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o as “exotic” and how that relates to broader intersections of race, Western beauty constructs and the multilayered problem of exoticizing and fetishizing non-white beauty. Judging by the amount of letters we continue to receive from listeners who have experienced it firsthand, the “exotic” treatment is by no means limited to celebrities like Nyong’o. To continue this important discussion, we’ve rounded up a excerpts from listener letters to further highlight what it’s really like to be “exotic” — and why it typically isn’t a compliment.

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