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The Lookout | April 12, 2021

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Maddy’s Message: ‘Bachelor’ racism

Maddy’s Message: ‘Bachelor’ racism
  • On February 22, 2021

By Maddy Warren
Editor In Chief

The reality TV show “The Bachelor” has become a household name since it first aired in 2002. Since then, spin-off shows including “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “Bachelor Pad” and, most recently, “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart,” have created a million-dollar franchise.

It was recently announced that longtime host Chris Harrison will be stepping away from the show after allegations broke of racism within the franchise.

The announcement came after Harrison defended a current contestant on “The Bachelor” for attending an “Antebellum” themed fraternity party in college. The contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, attended the party in 2018, and photos from it recently resurfaced on social media.

Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay co-hosts the podcast “Higher Learning,” which discusses topics including black culture, politics and sports. Lindsay recently interviewed Harrison regarding the photos of Kirkconnell. His response received backlash and sparked a conversation on the franchise’s racist past.

The franchise is no stranger to racial controversy. It is now season 25 of “The Bachelor” and the current Bachelor, Matt James, is the first Black man – the first BIPOC for that matter – to star as the lead.

I got into the Bachelor franchise during Hannah Brown’s season of “The Bachelorette” in 2018, after a few of my friends started watching it. Brown’s season was one of the better ones, in my opinion.

She was an admirable Bachelorette, and the contestants on her season included a lot of Bachelor Nation fan favorites: including runner-up Tyler Cameron, Mike Johnson and Dylan Barbour. Barbour was later on season six of “Bachelor in Paradise” and is now engaged to Hannah Godwin, who is friends with Brown.

Despite her popularity among fans, Brown was caught using racial slurs in 2020. Even though she apologized, there is no excusing her behavior.

There is a history of controversy among Bachelor stars and contestants, and they need to be held accountable for their actions.

At a time when race is a prominent and important topic of conversation in our country, the Bachelor franchise is in desperate need of a revamp.

For starters, there needs to be a significant increase in the diversity of the cast. There is no excuse for why it took 25 seasons to find a non-white Bachelor, or why only two out of 17 Bachelorettes were BIPOC.

Bachelor producers should never even consider contestants with racist track records – you think that would be a no-brainer.

As a member of “Bachelor Nation,” I strongly believe there are several changes that need to be made before these shows can continue.

Harrison stepping down as host (at least for the time being), is certainly a step in the right direction. With this, I am optimistic the franchise can start to do better in addressing and fixing the racism within it.