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How Racism Continues to Prevail Within Society as Seen Through The Bachelor Contestant and Host

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Providence chapter.


Within the past week, Chris Harrison, the host of The Bachelor, as well as The Bachelorette, has come under fire for defending racist behavior that current contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, had openly displayed in the past. According to Cosmopolitan Magazine, following the first episode, which was aired on January 4th, 2021, Rachael was called out by “TikTok user, Maddy Bierster, who claims that she went to high school with Rachael.” The Tik Tok user “…accused Rachael of teasing her in the past for liking black men.” The Tik Tok user made another video shortly after in which she showed seven messages that she had received from various individuals in which they claimed that Rachael, as well as her friend group, had also bullied them in both high school, and college. In February, pictures emerged on Twitter showing that Rachael had attended what is known as an “Old South Antebellum themed fraternity formal in 2018, at Georgia College & State University.” The two photos depict Rachael, as well as her friends, dressed up in southern belle dresses. 

Fans of The Bachelor, have shown their outrage and disgust with Rachael by speaking out against her actions through the use of social media. However, Chris Harrison’s response to the allegations has resulted in much of Bachelor nation to boycott the show altogether. In an interview that was done by ExtraTV on February 9th, in which Chris Harrison was interviewed by former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, he essentially defended all of Rachael Kirkconnell’s actions.  Rachel Lindsay asked him to talk on the photos of Rachael attending the Southern Antebellum party, to which he answered, “well Rachel, is it a good look in 2018, or not a good look in 2021?” Rachel responded by saying “it’s not a good look ever. She’s celebrating the Old South, which is not okay.” Chris then used the argument that “50 million people did that in 2018, that was a type of party that a lot of people went to. Thus, we are not looking under the same lens that we were in 2018.”  

     These insensitive and harmful comments have led to Chris Harrison stepping down from the show, which he announced on February 13th by saying in an Instagram post, “I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am deeply sorry.” Rachael shortly after issued her own apology which Bachelor nation appreciated, however, it in no way excuses the racist behavior that she exhibited in the past. It is evident that racism continues to manifest within society today. Despite the progress that has been made, it is not nearly enough, as can be seen through the actions made by Rachael Kirkconnell, as well as Chris Harrison. Racism continues to prevail through various micro aggressive behaviors, this incident being one, of many. Thus, it is clear that the “end,” to racism, is still not here, and much more continues to need to be done.  

Nicole Idelson

Providence '22

Nicole Idelson is a Social Work major at Providence College. On campus, she is also a part of The Mental Health Awareness Board and Best Buddies. She has been involved in HerCampus since her freshman year at Providence College, and absolutely loves the club. Nicole also enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends, and eating avocado toast.