In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, more and more celebrities have started speaking out against police brutality and systematic racism.
But while many Bachelor Nation stars have commented on the issue, none has weighed in more than Rachel Lindsay, aka the only black lead the franchise has had since it launched 18 years ago in 2002.
The world has looked to Rachel Lindsay to be the “black voice” of the reality show. And Rachel has clearly had enough. In a recent interview with AfterBuzz, she said,
“In 40 seasons [The Bachelor] had one black lead. We are on 45 presidents. And in 45 presidents there’s been one Black president. You are almost on par to say you’re more likely to become the President of the United States than you are a Black lead in this franchise. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous.”
“It’s been asked of me, will I continue in this franchise if it continues in this way? I can’t. I have to see some type of change. It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point, it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it.”
The show originally created the problem by imposing the general rule of picking the next Bachelor or Bachelorette lead from the top 4 from the previous season — which, shocker, was always white people. It’s the same pattern that plays out in real-life dating as well. A 2004 study by OkCupid found that users found black women to be “the least desirable.”
Unfortunately, The Bachelor producers took zero steps to rectify this problem, allowing it to continue until 2017 (just three years ago!) when they named Rachel Lindsay the first black lead.
And when Rachel’s season received some of the lowest ratings in the franchise’s history, it gave producers only more motivation to go back to having white leads. So even when they were presented with great opportunities to have black stars like Tayshia Adams or Mike Johnson (a fan favorite), they passed them over for bland, boring white-passing stars. It seems like pure karma that Peter Weber is now one of the most despised Bachelors of all time.
So as America starts, for the first time, to finally reckon with their racist roots, The Bachelor franchise only has one person they can rely on: Rachel Lindsay. And although other Bachelor Nation stars have commented on the situation, none can speak to what it’s like to be black in America.
But the truth is that there is no singular black experience. What Rachel has experienced is bound to be different from what another black woman has experienced and is certainly different from what a black man has experienced.
No person should have to represent their entire race. It’s not fair to them. And yet this is the horrible situation we have forced Rachel into.
The Bachelor has made a conscious decision to limit the number of black experiences that are being told in this country, something the media as a whole continues to do. Because when a massive franchise only gives one black person a platform in 18 years, they have reduced the number of stories and perspectives that are being portrayed. Everyone deserves to feel that they are represented and are being heard. But Rachel can not speak for everyone who looks like her, nor should she have to.
The Bachelorette has already committed to making Clare Crawley — another white blonde woman — the next lead. But if they don’t make the next Bachelor Mike Johnson, then Rachel is officially done representing the franchise. She said,
“I don’t know how you are a part of The Bachelor franchise and you’re watching what’s happening in our country right now and you don’t self-reflect that you’ve been part of the problem. You continue to perpetuate this type of behavior when you’re putting out something that is very white-washed and doesn’t have any type of color in it and you’re not trying to be effective and change that so I think that they have to, at this point, give us a black Bachelor for season 25. You have to. I don’t know how you don’t.”
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.