Why Race Might Actually Matter For The Future Bachelorette Winner

Photo: Michael Yada/ABC.
We finally know how Rachel Lindsay’s tenure as one of Nick Viall’s girlfriends on this season of The Bachelor ended. It was pretty uneventful, for The Bachelor, that is. There were tears and some talk about being heartbroken and “back at square one.” But let’s be honest, Rachel’s “square one” is looking pretty good. She is the new Bachelorette and will be throwing her hand in once again for another chance at love.
As the first Black person to take up the charge as the lead on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, Rachel is already feeling pressure about what the race of her next boo will or should be. She told The Hollywood Reporter that it’s something she’s already been questioned about by other Black people. But she’s not interested in making a decision “with any preconceived notions or any pressures to do something for somebody else.” She also made it clear to THR that race will not be the deciding factor in who she chooses to build a life with. She said, “And whether that person is Black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”
Obviously, Rachel is not against interracial dating. ICYMI: Nick is very white. One of the most annoying responses to calls for diversity has been the tendency to just add people of color to an already white script, set, and cultural context. That’s not the version of inclusivity that I’m interested in, but it abounds across the TV landscape. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Bachelorette considers Rachel ending up with a white guy to be the ultimate symbol of their commitment to diversity. In other words, it would be really easy for the franchise to ignore how race might play a pretty big part in how people might connect with their soon-to-be spouses.
Race is a pervasive part of all of our lives. Don’t let anyone try to tell you anything differently. Racial privileges and/or disadvantages play a huge part in how we interact with the world and how it returns the favor. This includes our love lives. Developing a sense of identity and pride around these identities can be a really important part of who we are; which is why it isn’t racist to prefer to date inside one’s own race, an argument I feel coming from a mile away. Even if the pressure weren’t on Rachel to keep the ball of progress rolling for The Bachelor franchise, I still think it’s likely that she will end up with another person of color, and it’s okay if she does.
It’s worth mentioning that Rachel doesn’t have to end up with a Black guy in order to help the franchise make history again. A Black guy making it into the final four and being picked to be the first Black Bachelor would do the trick.

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