North Texas Daily

‘The Bachelor’ and its history with racism do not deserve another apology

‘The Bachelor’ and its history with racism do not deserve another apology

‘The Bachelor’ and its history with racism do not deserve another apology
March 31
12:00 2021

Reality television sometimes could not be further away from reality. It can be shallow and deceiving, but for some, a very entertaining medium. When we talk about the “Bachelor Nation,” there are many things that are wrong with the franchise, and even now, people do not seem to see why it is so toxic and demeaning to women and how it has promoted racial inequality for years. For years, “The Bachelor” encompasses a show where one man, usually a white man, picks out 25 girls who all live in a mansion in Hollywood to become his wife. If the premise of this does not scream sexism, then we have entertainment television and their massive viewing fanbase to thank. 

Regardless of this, Bachelor Nation has encountered another more difficult obstacle than people calling the show sexist. They are now battling with the issue of race. 

The fact is that “The Bachelor” has a long history of symbolic annihilation by underrepresented minorities in their shows and the numbers don’t lie. Fifty-nine percent of Black contestants did not make it after two weeks of the show, according to a report by Splinter. NPR also reported that by 2016, “the only women of color who lasted into the final few weeks were of mixed-race Asian-white background.” When compared to shows like “Dancing with The Stars,” “American Idol,” or “The Biggest Loser,” “The Bachelor” has the biggest lack of diversity, Los Angeles Times reported.

After 25 seasons, and allegations of racism when choosing the bachelor and bachelorette for each season, the reality series finally introduced Rachel Lindsay as the first Black woman bachelorette in 2017. Later last year they chose Matt James to be the first Black bachelor since 2002. While this might be an ultimate strategy for the franchise so critics would get off their backs, it opened up a whole new world of speculation by their already skeptic audience. 

After the show began introducing their first Black bachelor and bachelorette, many old and new contestants made some huge mistakes while on the show or through social media. Hannah Brown, the bachelorette from season 23, received some backlash when she said the N-word in an Instagram live and then claimed that she did not even realize she had said that word. When the protests for George Floyd began in 2020, former Bachelor contestant Garrett Yrigogen released a very detailed statement on his Instagram supporting police lives and negating the importance of what the Black community was fighting for. Most recently, the show’s own beloved host Chris Harrison, received backlash for comments made in an interview with Rachel Lindsay.

One of the contestants for Matt James’ current season, Rachel Kirkconnell, was accused of some racist behavior in her past for dressing “in costume as a Native American and at an antebellum plantation-themed ball,” according to NBC Boston. Harrison defended her and said that in 2018 it was still acceptable to go to those events, and that only now is deemed unacceptable. The fact that the ex-host of “The Bachelor” does not see how harmful it is for him to condone this behavior, puts in question the whole mentality of the show’s producing team. 

The common theme with all these “The Bachelor” scandals is that they have all issued apologies on their social media. And while we are all humans and we make mistakes, the constant apologetic behavior from Bachelor Nation is not what the franchise needs to revendicate itself. Viewers need actions and real change, not empty words. And for what we have seen recently, they have a long way to go amending their reputation. 

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Oriana Valderrama

Oriana Valderrama

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