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This article originally appeared on NBC Black
Social media is going wild; ABC has named Rachel Lindsay as the first-ever black Bachelorette for the show’s 13th season.
(There have been 21 seasons of The Bachelor…we won’t hold our breath in waiting for a Black Bachelor. One day at a time.)
But let’s be clear. This move isn’t “historic” as headlines suggest. Sending Dr. Mae Jemison into space was historic. Electing President Barack Obama was historic. The U.S. Postal service selecting its first African American for a stamp (Booker T. Washington, 1940) was historic. The first African American appointed U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman was historic.
There’s nothing ‘historic’ about a 15-year-old reality show that promotes one woman (or one man) lusting, sexing, with 20 other people in competition for their heart. ABC has finally caved to the pressures of being inclusive in 2017.
They’ve realized that it makes good business sense to widen the market and include the African American community. So thank you, ABC and thank you, Channing Dungey who vowed to fix the show’s diversity problem after taking the helm as the network’s Entertainment President.
Now that we’ve cleared the air on what constitutes as historic, let’s get back to Rachel.
The majority of Black people I polled are excited for Rachel — if they even know who she is. It’s not like The Bachelor or the Bachelorette franchise is “must watch” TV in African Americans households. Many of us can’t even name a single person from last season.
The show’s consistent lack of diversity and petty behavior among the stars just doesn’t strike a chord with us. If we want ratchet, mindless reality TV, we have our own shows to watch.
However, beyond the conspiracy theories, in taking the pulse among many educated, middle class African Americans, the common thread was “there is something special about this Rachel.”
Finally, a black girl on reality TV who represents who we really are: pretty and educated. Rachel graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and got her law degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Her videos give us a glimpse into her world: down to earth, fun loving, and warm. From the gaps in her teeth, to her occasional bad hair days, she’s the “around the way” girl that L.L. Cool J spoke of in 1990: Not cheap or petty / You’re ready for loving / You’re real independent, so your parents be buggin’
The 31-year-old Dallas, Texas lawyer represented herself with class and sophistication in season 21 with Nick Viall. Yes, she’s flirty and sassy, after all the goal is to get the guy — or even better — to get your own show. But she’s not over-the-top, loud mouthed or ratchet. We are proud when she opens her mouth, unlike most reality TV stars that shall remain nameless.
Click here to read the full article.