The Bachelor’s Problem With Race & Representation

The long-airing reality dating show is under fire for their lack of diversity and inclusion, and it’s long overdue. After 24 Bachelor seasons and 15 Bachelorette seasons, the show has somehow only managed to have one season with a non-white lead, Rachel Lindsey’s, the attorney from Texas who continues to serve as the show’s “voice of inclusion”.

Underlining racism continues to plague the show recently with former Bachelorette lead Hannah Brown mistakingly rapping the n-word on Instagram live at the beginning of May. Bachelor Nation criticized Brown for her half-hearted apology, where she made excuses for her behavior and pretended to shrug it off. More recently, Brown issued a longer apology, where she accepted her mistake and discussed how she took the time to educate herself on the problem.

Chris Harrison remains mostly quiet on the matter, apart from an interview in May, where the host admitted to the show’s lack of diversity. He claimed that the problem has been difficult to solve, with producers practically having to beg people of color to come on to the show sometimes due to the try-out pools being overwhelmingly white. In an interview with SiriusXM host Bevy Smith, Harrison said, “Again, I think it takes a long time to turn around a big boat. We needed to take that step and I think we’ve done much better in the last few seasons for sure. We’ll continue to do that.” He also discussed how his goal is for everyone to feel as though they have a place on the show and to move past “token” participants, which has been a common critique among fans and contestants. 

Lindsey’s podcast “Bachelor Happy Hour” addressed the issue on Tuesday, discussing controversies with co-host Becca Kufrin, including one where Kufrin’s fiancé posted an Instagram post declaring his support for the police during the unrest and protests throughout the country. Regarding the incident, Lindsey stated, “I never spoke about it, and it was out of respect for you and your relationship… To me, this is what Garrett thinks, this is what Garrett is. He posted a black box. He never said, ‘Black lives matter.’ He posted fists of every color, which to me is like, ‘Everybody, all lives.’ And then the very next post is the thin blue line with a heartfelt, thought-out caption that he said with his chest. And to me, that is what you feel and that is what you believe. I don’t think Garrett is malicious, but Garrett is what the problem is.”

Lindsey hasn’t shied away from issues experienced on the show and frequently speaks her mind. She continues on the podcast to have a conversation over police brutality with Kufrin, being curt, and honestly about her personal experiences and using her celebrity status to call for change. 

Fans contributed to the hashtag #BIPOCBACHELOR earlier this week, calling for change within the show. Lindsey, among other former POC contestants, joined in discussing internal problems and external hate they’ve received, often based on their race. Hopefully, with much change on the horizon, the Bachelor can help make a difference in addressing racism and appropriately diversify its casts, both with contestants and leads.