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Romanticizing The Black Woman Starts With The Bachelorette

TV and film need to start making black women the main romantic interest.

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As you know, the ABC series, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has never been dominated by people of color. So when the series decided to finally select a black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, I was screaming for joy. Rachel is a Dallas-bred lawyer who is 32 years old and has the most warm personality. I was heartbroken when Nick Viall did not choose her on the last season of The Bachelor. To me, I was blindsided because he spoke of her as if she was the one for him. Even though I know it was problematic, the show is a guilty pleasure for me. To me, I see something positive coming out of this upcoming season. For once, a mostly white audience has to be faced with a black woman finding love.

When this was announced, I immediately scrolled through the comments on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find white women making statements like, “Why is it a big deal that she is a black woman?” or, “I think she is beautiful and we should stop focusing on her race.” Being able to say things like why a POC’s race shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things is a big fat privilege. The fact that these people do not see the fallacy in their comments worry me. They have never had to feel diminished because there was someone who did not look like them trying to find love. Romanticizing black women is one of my true passions. When I see a smart, capable, beautiful, witty black woman portrayed as “dateable” in the entertainment sphere, such as Rachel Lindsay, I am automatically drawn to it. If you ask many WOC about this, they will tell you we are often depicted as hard to love, complicated, loud, difficult, emasculating... Need I say more? So to put a black woman in the  position where a white Madonna has always been, says we are sort of moving forward—but not so fast.

If the producers of the show are doing this just to seem diverse temporarily, I am not 100 percent here for it. If this is just some ploy to go back to how it was before, I think we cannot consider this a victory. Often when there is a black woman who trying to win the Bachelor's heart, they are usually booted off by the fourth episode, which usually doesn’t give them enough character development to be chosen as The Bachelorette. Sometimes they do stay a little longer than historically, but the break up is typical. I always find the Bachelor wanting to to say, “You’re truly perfect, but this interracial thing is way too complicated for me.” I would even get upset when this happened and stop watching the show. I felt a real connection to that black girl because she reminded me so much of myself. Personally, it was much harder to feel that way about the white women who weren't chosen.

From someone who has dated within and outside of her race, I can say this is a very common narrative. I have attracted white men and we have great chemistry, but somehow the commitment factor becomes a distant memory for them as we progress. I think this is why it is important to put black women in a dating situation so they can be viewed as perfectly perfect human beings who are being courted. I find it an issue even with black men not taking black women as serious anymore. Let me clarify, I do not think all black men are seeking women outside their race, but I do believe it is becoming more of the norm. I have heard so many times, black men bashing black women for being difficult, and so they rather date white, latina or asian women.

Not to say white women do not struggle with dating, but I do believe our society has deemed white women as more dateable. Many black entertainers and athletes find a white woman to complement their success. This is beyond daunting to black women—the women who raise them, love them, support them and defend them.

So to the people who make The Bachelor and The Bachelorette happen, please make sure you give black people the space to be their authentic selves. I know the show is produced and edited by mostly white people, but at least make this an opportunity to lend a hand to all people of color, and not just white people. I know at the end of the day, this show is still seen through the lens of whites and that is something that has to change. Taking black lives seriously in the dating sphere is a real thing, and it is something that the creators, producers and casting directors should have been trying to incorporate for a long time. BUT, I do think we can seriously open the doors for black women to be the main romantic interest more often in the entertainment industry.

I would love to see a black couple at the end of either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette seasons. It's crazy to think that has never happened. It has to happen because us blacks deserve love, and the world needs to see it.

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“There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. “ --Toni Morrison, Paradise