Bachelor Nation has Started to Fall Following Racial Issues this Year

ABC’s Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise has encountered a sharp turn in the last year involving racial issues. The way that they have handled these issues has put them in a negative light.

About a year ago, former Bachelorette Hannah Brown received backlash after singing the n-word from DaBaby’s song “Rockstar” on Instagram live. After the video went out, she responded, saying she was in disbelief that she said the word.

Brown then took charge and learned about black history, apologized to the people she offended on her Instagram, and took time away from social media. She still received hate from Bachelor and Bachelorette viewers during this time, and her closest friends called her out for her wrongdoings. Since then, she has been active on social media and interacts daily.

Months later, one of this year’s final contestants, Rachael Kirkconnell, has been receiving backlash since racist photos have resurfaced. The image of Kirkconnell that people are talking about is her in a group photo wearing an antebellum-style dress.

For a better understanding, antebellum was a period in the history of the southern United States. During this time, the upper class created their standards for manhood and womanhood, and enslaved African people were still labored.

This event that was often held by the fraternity known by the school as “Old South.” This fraternity is already widely known as being racist due to their Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s embrace as a spiritual leader.

Besides this photo, it has also resurfaced that Kirkconnell liked racist posts in the past. For example, she had liked a photo on Instagram of two Caucasian women dressed in hula outfits in front of a confederate flag.

Former Bachelorette, and the first black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, has become a strong activist for black lives and the lack of diversity in the Bachelor Nation. She started the critical conversations that ABC had to have with host Chris Harrison in response to Kirkconnell’s actions.

Lindsay held an interview on ExtraTV with Harrison and asked about the racial allegations of Kirkconnell’s photos and active likes of racist posts.

“Well, Rachel, was it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference,” said Harrison.

“It’s not a good look ever,” replied Lindsay, “Because she’s celebrating the Old South. If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?”

Harrison proceeded to say that he agrees with Lindsay in 2021, but it wouldn’t have been the case in 2018. He then went on to say he’s not defending Kirkconnell and said “50 million people did [the same thing] in 2018.”

Due to this interview, Harrison started to receive a handful of the backlash for defending the racist actions of Kirkconnell, causing Harrison to step down as The Bachelor host for the time being. On Feb. 10, 2021, he posted on his Instagram his apology and realization that his comments were not what the Bachelor Nation wanted to hear. A few days later, Harrison posted another message of him notifying everyone that he won’t be at the Final Rose Ceremony for Matt James’ last episode of The Bachelor. He again apologized to the Black community, along with Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC).

Following this occurrence, Lindsay started getting backlash for “getting Chris fired,” but in reality, she did not. He is responsible for his own words. Due to this, Lindsay deleted Instagram but since has redownloaded the app.

Furthermore, former Bachelor contestant Taylor Nolan has had racist tweets resurface of her mocking Vietnamese women in nail salons and the Black Community. Nolan has apologized on her Instagram. However, the responses to her post have not been accepting.

I would not consider myself a part of the Bachelor Nation, but I have watched a few seasons, and this year, it has been a letdown. The way ABC has handled the racial allegations and ignored the concerns tells us a lot about the show. I hope that Harrison learns from his actions and understands how he needs to improve. If he comes back as the host, hopefully he would have learned from the interview and his choice of words.