I’ve mentioned this time and time again, but I am a firm believer that the Bachelor and Bachelorette series are some of the best things ABC ever did. After all, it gives me something to talk about, as it has done on numerous occasions, including this one. For those of you who have stuck with me since my initial Nick Viall rant at the beginning of the season, welcome back because this week, we have some good news, and it involves the newest Bachelorette. To be honest, regardless of what type of Bachelor Nick Viall was, we all knew that the chemistry between him and contestant Rachel Lindsay was unmistakable. From the first impression rose to their first one-on-one, many of us were rooting for this. You may have been like me and assumed that maybe Vanessa could be the new Bachelorette, or maybe even Corinne, since home-girl is defying all odds by continuing to survive rose ceremony after rose ceremony, but for so many reasons, Rachel Lindsay being the newest Bachelorette could not be a more perfect choice.
Though each season of the Bachelorette has been as entertaining and exciting as the last, we have different reasons to look forward to the coming season. ABC broke a 12-series-long pattern and made history by casting Lindsay, the first black Bachelorette after years of demands from Bachelor fans for more diversity. Though many who are following the current season of the Bachelor are disappointed by the premature release of this news, this is one spoiler I can definitely get behind. Diversity always seems to be an issue in entertainment, from whitewashing in movies to the unequal ratios of white people versus people of color in leading roles. Until now, the Bachelorette has followed much of the same pattern. The majority of the contestants on the Bachelor as well as nearly all of the Bachelorettes have been, you guessed it, white. As an Asian-American myself, I am also a person of color, and I have also wondered what casting so many white people in reality television really portrays to the rest of the world. Are there certain types of people that we feel are more deserving of love? Or more deserving of someone’s attention? Is there a preferred portrayal of reality in which people of color should not be included?
Rachel Lindsay’s casting is one of many ways in which ABC has made moves towards changing this type of idea – it shows how important representation truly is. I can count on one hand how many black women were featured as contestants on Nick Viall’s season of the Bachelor (the answer is eight – eight women out of a total of thirty.). Black women are fairly underrepresented in reality dating shows, but why? Could the fact that a black person has yet to win either the Bachelor or the Bachelorette have to do with this same type of underrepresentation? Should people of color have to be “pleasantly surprised” when a person of color appears on a show like this one? I remember silently rooting for other Asian contestants on TV shows because I could relate to them – we had nothing in common, yet the simple fact that they, like me, were Asian, was enough for me. It has always been so rare for us to see people of color represented and accounted for on TV, and a part of me has always felt that this was unfair. Rachel Lindsay’s casting is important because she is the first black Bachelorette, but I should also make it clear that her casting should not be boiled down to only this. She is also beautiful and successful and her intellect is one of many things about her that Nick Viall, as well as the other contestants on the Bachelor, found charming and appealing about her.
To ABC and The Bachelorette – I’m looking forward to the coming season.