You don’t have to be a citizen of Bachelor Nation to know that there is something special about the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. The news spread far and wide that this season of the show will feature the first Black lead, not only for the female-led installment but for the entire franchise. It’s been big news in reality TV, mainly because it took the show so long to make it happen. But now that Rachel Lindsay is the chosen one, there is quite a bit of pressure on the 31-year-old lawyer from Dallas — in addition to hopefully finding a husband. I'm journeying to Bachelor Nation on a tourist visa, but I definitely plan on tuning in have some aspirations of my own for this season.
Lindsay recently told Entertainment Tonight that she plans on tackling race upfront with her suitors. “I want to talk about it the same way that I [wanted] to talk to Nick about it,” she said. This includes asking if they’ve ever dated a Black woman and sharing her own experiences in love. This is a relief to me, because one of my fears for the show was that it would follow the trend of too many other series trying to tackle diversity: cast people of color but pretend like race doesn’t exist. Linsday made it clear to ET that she is open to dating men of all races, but that doesn’t mean that race isn’t an important part of who people are, for better and for worse.
At the same time, Lindsay deserves to have fun during this process. Sometimes being the first or the only Black person comes with expectations that you stand in for the race as a whole. We don’t need Lindsay to be on her best behavior as the official Black ambassador for Bachelor Nation. I want to see her laugh, giggle, and flirt her way to true love. Rachel is a Black woman, but she’s also a human being with her own complexities.
ABC has a great opportunity to showcase the diversity of Blackness. From the few spoilers and promotional clips we’ve seen, it’s obvious that there are going to be at least a handful of Black men among the competition for Lindsay’s heart. I hope that this season of The Bachelorette leans into the diversity among them. We don’t have to sit through any more “going Black and not going back” jokes. If this season of the Bachelorette is going to include harmless racial banter, please make it funny. If they play their cards right, I might apply for permanent residence to Bachelor Nation.