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Kavita Das

Freelance Writer

New York

Kavita Das

I worked in the social change sector for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness to public health disparities to most recently, racial justice. Now, I'm an award-winning writer focusing on culture, race, social change, feminism, and their intersections, featured in Longreads, NBC News, The Atlantic, Quartz, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Aerogram, and other outlets.

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You’re Just Too Good to Be True

My absolute favorite song off the tape was Killing Me Softly. Listening to it, I felt as if I was all grown up, sitting in the audience at a small café. I was the person he sang about, who comes undone by the lovelorn songs of a soulful troubadour. I sang out with abandon, the windows down, drowning out city noises. Strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words, killing me softly with his song, killing me softly. My mother continued to drive as I sang my little girl heart out all the way back to Queens.
Longreads Link to Story
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Who Gets To Write About Whom

“Who is permitted to write and be published? Whose stories are seen as important and elevated?”
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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Recovering My Fifth Sense

Kavita Das recalls learning to self-advocate as a patient with a cleft palate — and as a child in a family full of doctors.
Longreads Link to Story
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Passing and Being Passed Over in the United States

The experiences of passing chronicled in We Wear the Mask offer a prism through which to understand the numerous ways we all pass in our personal and professional lives.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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Selective Perception of Disinformation

Whatever the framing or nomenclature, there is no doubt this country is embroiled in an imperative and visceral moral struggle for the very human rights its founding documents hold “unalienable.” Given this real struggle, can we justify our continued engagement in an ideological culture war?
The Kenyon Review Link to Story
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Red Ink of Revisionist History

Ultimately, to truly move forward as a nation, we must embrace shared ideals shaped by the crucible of a true and shared understanding of our nation’s history, an understanding that acknowledges not just our triumphant moments, but moments when we fell gravely short of upholding these ideals. And to arrive at this shared understanding of our nation’s true history, we must revisit our classrooms, where many of us first learned about American history, albeit a version which often was incomplete and incongruent. We must follow the trail of the red ink of revisionist history that fills many of our textbooks, classrooms, and consequently, our own understanding of our national identity.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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India has changed a lot in 70 yrs. But arranged marriage remains norm.

When non-Indians ask me if I had an arranged marriage, I sometimes slyly reply: “in a sense.”. I’m an Indian American born and raised in the United States, married to someone who grew up in India. But it was our mutual friend, a white woman from Oregon — not our families — who played matchmaker. When I explain this to them, I know it is not the answer they expected.
The Washington Post Link to Story
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A Virulent Privilege

"What is especially telling about this data is the stark contrast between the race and class of unvaccinated and undervaccinated children. It underscores dual narratives: one of choice, one of circumstance. It also begs the question: would this movement have been allowed to grow, endangering the lives of all children, if it was largely populated by poor families of color rather than driven by middle-class white families? Would its members have been generously perceived as misguided but well-intentioned rather than misinformed and dangerous? Ultimately, these individuals working to undermine the protection offered by vaccinations to our nation’s children have been protected by their own race and class privilege—benefiting from another type of herd immunity."
Nat. Brut Link to Story
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The Perils of Denialism on the Left

This strain of denialism might not as be as nihilistic as the one afflicting the far right, but it still constitutes a refusal to accept reality. Unlike the denialism of the right, which employs crutches like religion, the denialism of the left is characterized by a type of hyper-rationalism, which relies on selectively curated facts. And this strain of denialism helped lose Democrats this election and is the cause of liberals’ shock over this loss.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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Biography: Where White Lives Matter

OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES, demographic changes have significantly altered our country’s population, and the election of our first Black president has signaled the beginnings of a major sociocultural shift. Yet biography, the genre responsible for chronicling the lives of significant and relevant individuals, remains staggeringly undiverse.
Los Angeles Review of Books Link to Story
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Kavita Das: Groove

Even as I felt intimidated and challenged by my orchestral peers, I simultaneously felt like I had found my place, my groove, in the universe. The permanent red scar that now embellished where my left jaw met my neck was no longer ridiculed as a hickie, but celebrated as a battled-honed scar. I felt at home amongst my fellow orchestra geeks and our shared awe for the music we got to play. When the maestro walked toward the center of the room to begin rehearsal, we would scurry to our seats, instruments in hand. When he raised his baton, the room filled with the vacuumed silence of one hundred held breaths. And then we played, each of us singing our respective parts through our instruments. Sometimes the violins played the melody, and sometimes we provided the countermelody, punctuated by the rhythm section. Inevitably, each piece, no matter how calm or raucous, ended in a moment of silence, and then the release of our collective breath once the maestro dropped his baton, and finally a feeling that we had just said everything that needed saying.
Guernica Link to Story

About

Kavita Das

Kavita Das worked in social change for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness, to public health disparities, to racial justice, and now focuses on writing about culture, race, feminism, social change, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in Longreads,The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Colorlines, and elsewhere. Her first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar (Harper Collins India, Fall 2018), is a biography about the Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer, who played a pivotal role in bringing Indian music to the West. Connect with Kavita on Twitter @kavitamix

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Skills

  • Writing
  • Strategic Communications
  • Marketing (MBA)
  • Project Management