Media outlets were very concerned that Americans would not be able to handle a black woman or an interracial relationship on a reality television show.
The “Bachelorette” debuted Monday featuring its first black female, Rachel Lindsay, looking for love among thirty-one male contestants. Featuring a diverse line up of black, white and Latin men, Lindsay must weed them out to find “the one.”
NBC News questioned whether America is ready to accept an interracial relationship in an article headlined “First Black Bachelorette Shines in Debut, but Is America Ready for Interracial Love?”
“Serious questions lingered … Would Rachel Lindsay represent us well on national television? Would we be proud to call her our little sister? Is America ready to witness – week after week – the possibility of an interracial love affair?” Nikki Booker wrote. “After 13 seasons of white couples riding off into the sunset, will America really embrace a black couple or an interracial couple in the end?”
As some men did not advance to the next round, Booker pondered whether the producers were trying to make sure that the contestants weren’t too black for the audience.
“Make no mistake, this season of Bachelorette is much deeper than a girl hooking up with a guy. The racial overtones displayed, the dynamic between this diverse group of men, Rachel’s chemistry with them and how America reacts will clearly test the temperament of race relations,” Booker said.
An NPR write-up also argued that despite having a black woman as the star of the Bachelorette, it was still set in a white dominated world. Despite adding more black and Hispanics to the cast than ever before, this season still didn’t have enough ethnic people, Eric Deggans wrote.
“Given how previous shows have been dominated by white suitors, I thought there might have been even more people of color presented (and if they wanted to more closely reflect the population, Hispanic guys were severely underrepresented),” Deggans said. “My suspicion is that ABC was worried about having enough white guys in the mix for their mostly white audience, while making sure there was also lots of racial diversity onscreen.”
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