Why Having the First Black Bachelorette is Groundbreaking

BY: MARIAH ESPADA

For over a decade “Bachelor” nation has fallen in love with watching on-screen white romances blossom into real life matrimony. This will all change, however, in a few months when fan favorite, Rachel Lindsay, graces tv screens as the franchise’s first black bachelorette.

Considering that the dating game show has served as America’s guilty pleasure for nearly 15 years, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the big announcement. Several questions are circulating including first, where on Earth did they find such a perfect human being and second, why’d they announce her Bachelorette gig while she was still a contestant on the current season?

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Apparently casting found the 31-year-old in Dallas, Texas where she works as an attorney for Cooper & Scully. As for why they couldn't wait for the announcement-- sources say producers needed as much time to recruit the most eligible bachelors for her season. The largest question of all, however, still remains-- Why did it take ABC 13 seasons to finally get it right and cast a black female as the lead?

When looking at past seasons, it is clear that the producers of the show have a type-- tall, the right shade of blonde (although sometimes they make an exception for the occasional brunette), thin eyebrows and perfectly shaped crystal-white smile. They are usually mild-mannered, with just the right amount of sass to keep things interesting.

While Lindsay’s smile, ease with her words and respectable background make her basically perfection, the problem is just that-- she had to be perfect. In order for producers to make the big leap towards a diverse lead, they were awaiting for Mother Theresa to be reborn with chocolate-colored skin and a resume that would blow away any firm. While other past white leads were single moms, “too sassy” or even unemployed, the first black bachelorette needed to prove better than that to even be considered.

While many are celebrating this small victory in diversifying the hit show, it’s important to stress that this was a long time coming. We had a black president before we had a black bachelor/bachelorette. Shame on you ABC for missing 12 opportunities to showcase #BLACKGIRLMAGIC (or #BLACKBOYJOY) on the screens of hopelessly romantic, reality TV fans across the country. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take 12 more to completely diversify your roster.

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