By Lori Perkins
After a female Bachelor contestant revealed that she had dressed up to attend an “Old South” themed antebellum fraternity party in 2018, and the show’s host called the fallout criticism from “the woke police,” forcing him to step aside for the first time in the show’s 20 year-history, it was announced that the reality dating show would feature it’s first Black male bachelor as the dating star.
Needless to say this caused even more controversy and shined a spotlight on the show’s racial history.
Matt James, the 29 year-old featured Black bachelor, expressed on his Instagram account that he felt that the show had “fallen short” in the way it had addressed this racial issue. He described the photos of the female contestant as “incredibly disappointing” and that he saw host Chris Harrison’s comments as a “failure.” He stated that the weeks he has been on the show “have been some of the most challenging of my life.”
“This moment has sparked critical conversations and reporting, raised important questions, and resulted in inspiring displays of solidarity from The Bachelor nation. It has also pushed me to reevaluate and process what my experience on The Bachelor represents, not just for me, but for all of the contestants of color, especially the Black contestants of this season and seasons past, and for you, the viewers at home.”
According to a recent article in The Washington Post, the racial composition of the ABC series has long been criticized. A 2012 lawsuit filed (and subsequently dismissed) by two Black men who auditioned for the show alleged that people of color were not given the same consideration as others. It was only a year later that the show cast its first Latino star. The first Black Bachelorette appeared on air in 2017.
It’s obvious ABC and The Bachelor need to do better!