Image: ABC Bachelor Instagram
Producers of ABC’s the Bachelor are already congratulating themselves for “this historic moment.” The show debuted it’s first Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. But wait, isn’t this 2017? A whitewashed reality TV show, the Bachelor has even been sued for not being inclusive enough.
This Monday, Chris Harrison surprised Rachel and the Bachelor Nation by introducing four contestants early on live television before the classic Bachelor mansion meet-up. Rachel was so shocked she “didn’t know what to say” when she met the four contestants – two Black and two white men.
Rachel handled the surprise with grace and laughter as she met the four men, stumbling through awkward and adorable moments. One man bought her tickets to Las Vegas with an invitation to get hitched. Another contestant and her broke out into a spontaneous dance. These are the sincere moments that we want to see on the next Bachelorette. One contestant, who was white, felt so bold to make a joke about race, telling Rachel, “I’m ready to go Black and never go back.”
It is only five minutes into the Bachelorette and Rachel already faces a racial microaggression. It is this kind of joke that makes you want to cringe a little and think did he actually just say that? Or is this supposed to be funny? Hopefully the other contestants learn from this mistake and are more careful with their words. Bringing a sense of humor when talking about race can be effective in breaking the ice, when done right.
The joke highlights the divide that is still evident in our society and the challenges that many interracial couples face. Insensitive and offensive jokes of this nature often stem from ignorance and lack of exposure to different races and cultures. As a nation, we do a bad job of educating each other about, one another.
Image: Rachel Lindsay’s Instagram
Rachel is a civil defense litigation attorney from Texas, she has brains to match her stunning smile. Rachel is not blind to the challenges of being the first Black Bachelorette, but does not want race or other people’s hopes to define her experience. “It’s my journey in finding love. And whether that person is Black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”
Rachel is right. She should let the producers of the show worry about the Bachelor’s reputation and enjoy the ride.