Why This Bachelorette Rumor Is SO Exciting

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Rumors are flying that Caila Quinn, who was sent home by Bachelor Ben Higgins last week, is the top pick by producers to be the next Bachelorette. The speculation is being fed by reports that Quinn was seen filming Bachelorette-esque scenes in her hometown. The rumor also has legs because ABC Entertainment Chief Paul Lee told Entertainment Weekly back in January that he would "be very surprised" if this summer's edition of The Bachelorette weren't diverse, perhaps referring to the makeup of the cast — or even to a Bachelorette who finally isn't white.

The fact of the matter is, The Bachelor franchise hasn't had much diversity at all in its combined 31-season history, with only one Latino Bachelor and no woman of colour ever cast as the Bachelorette. UnReal skewered how the show treats Black contestants in its premiere season last year, offering up a story line that showed one Black male producer grooming two Black female contestants with the expectation that they have no chance of making it to the final round. Ridiculously, UnReal will feature a Black Bachelor character in its next season — before the actual series does.

It's well past time to have a Bachelorette of colour. Quinn, who identifies as half Filipino and half German/Irish/Swiss and was born and raised in Ohio, could be that person if she's willing. But is casting her as the Bachelorette going far enough?

Producers appear to still be living in a world where a white audience won't stay invested in a TV show featuring people of colour. Apparently, they're unaware of the blockbuster-sized audience flocking to Empire, the groundbreaking storytelling of Being Mary Jane, or the ratings generator Fresh off the Boat. Maybe they don't understand how Orange Is the New Black can create compelling story lines with a diverse cast of fully fleshed-out characters. Perhaps they haven't heard of their own network's #TGIT lineup, which features an entire night of highly diverse TV programming, including shows led by Black female characters from Shondaland; maybe it's time for them to get a refresher on Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.

In short, it's not only irresponsible and out of touch, it is downright offensive to continue to act as if the love lives and dating habits of women of colour aren't as captivating to The Bachelorette's audience as those of white women. After so many years of the same thing, to the point of being utterly predictable, the best, most refreshing spin The Bachelorette could get would be to acquire a different worldview. After the bad taste the last sexist, slut-shaming season of The Bachelorette left in our mouths, this would be a change we could get behind.

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