‘The Bachelor’: Rachel Lindsay’s Ultimatum Against ‘White-Washed’ Franchise Finally Tackles Diversity

There are many popular reality shows on television, but The Bachelor is one of the most enduring. The show has been on the air for nearly twenty years and has spawned several popular spinoffs.

Fans love the series and there is a large, active fan community that has sprung up around the franchise. Still, the show has been criticized many times over the years due to the lack of diversity in casting.

Recently, Rachel Lindsay, a former Bachelorette, spoke out about this issue, and her words might have finally caused the network to act. 

What is ‘The Bachelor’ about?

In 2002, the landscape of reality television changed forever when The Bachelor debuted on television. Hosted by Chris Harrison, the show revolves around a single man who begins the season confronted with a large pool of possible romantic interests.

During the course of the season, the resident bachelor gets to know each of the candidates, eliminating them one by one. Ultimately, the goal is to pair up the bachelor with one perfect mate, with the season culminating in a marriage proposal.

Although each season follows that general outline, there are always twists and turns, and fans have been shocked many times by the decisions that the bachelor, as well as the candidates, have made. The show has been criticized for many reasons over the years.

Many have accused the showrunners, as well as the premise of the show, as being sexist. Others have railed against the fact that many elements of the show seem scripted, and therefore, the romance presented cannot possibly be legitimate. However, the most overwhelming complaint against The Bachelor is the fact that the show consistently features a lack of diversity. 

Rachel Lindsay spoke out against the lack of diversity on ‘The Bachelor’

One of the most vocal proponents of diversity in reality television, specifically on The Bachelor franchise, is Rachel Lindsay. She rose to fame as one of the contestants on the twenty-first season of The Bachelor, and later, she took center stage as the star of the thirteenth season of The Bachelorette. Lindsay is notable for several reasons, including for the fact that she is the first African-American star in The Bachelor franchise. 

Lindsay has remained in the spotlight since marrying the winning contestant of her season of The Bachelorette, and hosts a podcast called Higher Learning. She has also been vocal about how The Bachelor franchise should be working harder to include more diverse candidates in the lineup for each season.

Rachel Lindsay
Rachel Lindsay | Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Recently, Lindsay spoke out to demand change from the network and franchise, claiming that she wouldn’t work with them if they didn’t start changing their ways.

“I can’t. I have to see some type of change,” she said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point, it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it. In 40 seasons, you’ve had one black lead. We have had 45 presidents and in 45 presidents, you have one black president. It’s ridiculous.”

ABC recently announced the first black ‘Bachelor’

RELATED: Matt James Is the New Bachelor, But the Franchise Still Needs to Show They’re Actually Committed to Diversity

Lindsay’s harsh words might have actually had some impact. In mid-June, ABC announced that after nearly two decades, they had chosen the first African-American Bachelor in series history. Matt James will be featured on the upcoming season of The Bachelor and is bound to make a splash due to his good looks and charm.

While this might be a positive step forward, Lindsay has gone on the record to call for more widespread change, including showrunners and producers of color in addition to stars. She said: “I need the acknowledgement of that, not putting a Band-Aid over the situation and just saying, ‘Here, we’re gonna put this here, are you happy now?'”