Review of Matt's Season of the Bachelor

Matt James’s season of the Bachelor has been absolute trash, in more ways than one. However, the worst part of the whole thing is the racism that has tainted the first season with a Black Bachelor in the franchise’s history. Honestly, I’m more than disappointed. I’m mad.

The Bachelor show has been airing for nineteen years, yet this season is the first time a Black man has been selected to be the Bachelor. Matt James was chosen to lead this year’s season. He is a twenty-nine-year-old and works in real estate in New York City. He also founded “ABC Food Tours,” a non-profit organization that educates children in underserved communities about food and exercise. He was brought into the spotlight of Bachelor Nation due to his close friendships with former Bachelorette contestant Tyler Cameron and former Bachelorette Hannah Brown.

It took twenty-four seasons and almost twenty years with White men as Bachelors for the franchise to diversify, however, an extremely upsetting, racist twist has fallen upon the one season with a man of color as the Bachelor. A few weeks ago, rumors about contestant Rachael Kirkconnell performing racist actions began floating around the internet. Those rumors soon turned into facts as people from Kirkconnell’s past posted photos and evidence of her actions on sites like TikTok, Twitter, and Reddit. To name a few, in 2018, Kirkconnell attended a plantation-themed fraternity party where she went to college at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. One woman also posted TikToks discussing how Kirkconnell bullied her in high school for liking Black guys. The irony is painful in this situation, but overall it is just absolutely unacceptable for the Bachelor franchise to claim they had not known any of this information about Kirkconnell before offering her a spot on the show. If teenagers can find this information in a matter of minutes, then professionals surely can find it too. 

 To make matters worse, long-standing Bachelor host Chris Harrison had words of defense for Kirkconnel during his Extra interview with former Bachelorette, and the first Bachelorette in the franchise’s history, Rachel Lindsey. He spoke about Kirkconnel like she was some innocent little girl who didn’t know any better way back when in 2018. There are so many things wrong with his response. First off, she is a grown woman who knows right from wrong and there is no excuse for her behavior. None at all. Secondly, Harrison is perpetuating this idea that racism was okay back before 2021, but it’s not “cool” to be racist anymore. I have seen it all too often lately especially amongst typically moderate, middle-class White Americans. These people act like not being racist is a trend they must be in alignment with otherwise they’ll be “canceled,” or be attacked by the “woke” people. Harrison even stated in his interview that "the woke police are out there,” and that those people are the ones attacking Kirckconnel. I can’t stress enough how toxic these people are, and how they are huge barriers to achieving racial equality in this country. Racism is not new and it is not trendy to be anti-racist. These people who act like Harrison are wolves dressed as sheep, and I’ll go as far as saying these actions are just as bad, or even worse, than overt racists. It’s time to start holding people accountable for their actions, not because it’s 2021 and that’s how we do things now, but because being a good person should be the starting line. We have to stop giving people, especially people with a public platform, free passes to say these things with no consequences. Institutionalized and systemic racism can be found everywhere in our society, even in the words people choose to say, or better yet, the words they choose not to say. People in this country cannot hide behind their one Black Lives Matter post on Instagram anymore. As I’ve said, not being racist is not a trend. Hear that, Harrison? Racism is not okay in 2021, it was not okay in 2018, and it is never okay. Simple as that. 

While Harrison has temporarily stepped down as Bachelor Nation’s host, nothing significant has been done to repair the situation. Harrison also released a short statement of regret and apologies, while Kirkconnel has released an even shorter one. To end this on an even more depressing note than I started, rumors have been floating around that Matt James ends up with Kirkconnel at the end of all of this. Nothing has been confirmed, but just sit on that thought for a while.