The first African American “Bachelorette”

Rachel Lindsay takes the spotlight on season 13 of The Bachelorette

Photo courtesy of via Creative Commons

Kelly Cooke, Author

Since its 2002 debut season, aside from Juan Pablo Galavis, a latino bachelor, The Bachelor has only consisted of white contestants and winners. The same goes for its spinoff show, The Bachelorette, which started airing the following year. There has yet to be an African American Bachelorette or winner of the show until the show announced Rachel Lindsay as the first African American Bachelorette in the upcoming season 13.

In the past, the show has been ridiculed for its overwhelmingly white presence of contestants, even facing a class action lawsuit accusing ABC of intentionally excluding people of color from lead roles in the show. Ultimately, though, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled in favor of the show, due to casting decisions being protected by the First Amendment. Senior Emily Surabian comments on the lawsuits lack of merit by saying, “I don’t think that the lawsuits are necessarily justified considering I don’t believe the producers purposely did not place an African American in the bachelor/bachelorette position. I think it just worked out this way but that also could be my own racial bias because I did not see the problem in the past.”

Junior Destiny Ball adds, “I don’t feel that The Bachelor is racially discriminatory because love is love it shouldn’t matter what the color of someone’s skin is, but I honestly think it’s about time that black people have to have their time to shine. I personally love Rachel because she’s genuine, extremely gorgeous and kind. I think she deserves a shot at love too and my peers have told me that they’re excited to watch it in May.”

The 31-year-old attorney from Dallas, Rachel Lindsay, says, “I’m honored to have this opportunity and to represent myself as an African American woman. I just hope that people rally behind me,” she also acknowledges the standards placed upon her by adding, “Just realize that I’m just trying to find love, and even though I’m an African American woman, it’s no different than any other Bachelorette.” Lindsay comments on the differences in her season compared to every other season, “I’m obviously nervous and excited to take on this opportunity but I don’t feel added pressure being the first black Bachelorette, because to me I’m just a black woman trying to find love. Yes, I’m doing on this huge stage, but again my journey of love isn’t any different just because my skin color is.”

Although Lindsay does want to see a more diverse group incorporated on the show in future seasons, she also believes that her role should not be purely racial or to “fill a quota.” She also comments about how she believes that if she stays true to herself, it will be a good show.