Gina Vaynshteyn
October 26, 2014 11:17 am

Earlier this October, Mindy Kaling attended a New Yorker Festival after-party at NYC’s Boom Boom Room, where she was congratulated on her Nobel Peace Prize by an intoxicated, elderly man. The man, thinking she was Malala Yousafzai — you know, the 17 year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for advocating for women’s rights and education — commented how well her face had healed from the attack.

Mindy Kaling is many things. She’s an actress, a novelist, a show writer, a producer, and a comedian. But she’s definitely not Malala Yousafzai, one of TIME’s Most Influential Teens of 2014, and yes, one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners. These two ladies are amazing, talented, and endlessly wonderful, but they are quite different from each other.

And hey, I kind of get it. Sometimes, we get mistaken for other people. It happens. We’re all human. I was at a restaurant last week, and the waiter SWORE he met me before, so apparently I have a doppelganger who also likes Thai food. But that’s a relatively easy mistake to make, since I’m not a famous Nobel Prize winner, nor a prolific actress and TV writer. A person, no matter how drunk they are, really shouldn’t be mistaking Mindy Kaling for Malala Yousafzai, especially since both women have been publicly recognized for their amazing, monumental achievements. Achievements very unique to each woman.

I know we’ve all been laughing about the mistake. Even Kaling laughed it off, saying, “Did he really think I’m Malala? And that if I were, I’d be at the Boom Boom Room?” And if you haven’t heard of the Boom Boom Room, it’s one of the most exclusive night clubs in New York City. Probably not a place that Malala frequents, since she’s underage and all. It’s funny how Mindy shrugged this off, but the fact is that this is ridiculous. And uncomfortable. Because besides their similar-ish skin color, these women are very different. One is Indian, and the other is Pakistani. Two unique backgrounds that shouldn’t EVER be lumped into one category.

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