Rachel Lindsay suggests 5 ways The Bachelor franchise can improve diversity
The series' first black Bachelorette says the entire franchise "needs a diversity makeover," so she's giving them some suggestions of where to start.
Rachel Lindsay is no stranger to speaking out against the lack of diversity in The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. Lindsay made history back in 2017 when she was the series' first black Bachelorette. But years later, she's still the only black lead the franchise has had.
Most recently, Lindsay made headlines for saying she'd cut ties with the franchise if the lack of diversity in lead roles isn't addressed. So, she took to her blog to further express her thoughts.
"I ultimately decided to be the Bachelorette because I knew this opportunity was bigger than me. I knew that I wanted to present myself to an audience that had not seen a lead of color in this role," Lindsay writes. "I knew that I wanted to be a trailblazer in this franchise to diversify the lead role, to diversify the contestants trying out and casted for the show, and to diversify the audience watching this show. Well, I am sad to say that after almost four years in this franchise, we still don’t have the diversity that this show needs, and that our audience deserves."
Speaking to the franchise increasing the number of diverse contestants in recent years, Lindsay writes, "Yes, more diverse contestants do appear on the show now, but is the lead truly interested and open to dating outside of their race? I think that is evident by how far their 'journey' takes them during each season. It is a naive expectation to believe that leads will authentically start an interracial relationship for the first time on national television. The sad reality is that people of color become placeholders as the token person of color to add some flavor to the second half of the season."
While Lindsay expresses that "you never want to bite the hand that feeds you," she also writes that she doesn't want to "be aiding and abetting problematic behavior." Lindsay writes, "I am affiliated with this franchise and to be silent on some matters is to still be complicit with these cycles of detrimental conduct ... This is the reason that I have come to the conclusion that if changes are not made on the inside and outside of the franchise, I will dissociate myself from it."
As she puts it, the entire franchise "needs a diversity makeover," so she's giving them some suggestions of where to start. She writes:
1. "Cast leads that are truly interested in dating outside of their race;
2. Stop making excuses for the lack of diversity and take action to rectify the problem;
3. Diversify the producers on the show to make your contestants of color feel more comfortable; and
4. Stop creating problematic storylines for people of color."
Her fifth and final suggestion is that "the franchise should make a statement acknowledging their systemic racism."
Read her entire blog post here.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.