‘The Bachelorette’: Two Frontrunners Emerge for Rachel Lindsay (Entertainment Tonight/YouTube Screenshot)
The new season of “The Bachelorette,” starring its first black female lead, is using racism to add drama to the reality show, and it’s actually pretty disturbing.
The reality show, which is supposed to be about a woman finding love, is focusing heavily on racism among the male contestants. For the past three weeks, the show has dragged out the “racial tensions” between a black contestant, Kenny, and Lee, a white contestant.
Lee spends most of his time baiting the black men on the showing, hoping that they will lash out in anger. The tensions exploded this week when Lee called Kenny “aggressive,” prompting a debate about how America sees black men and whether black people play the race card.
Will, another black contestant on the show, tried explaining to Lee that “aggressive” has a negative history with black men.
“So he’s the guy that gets mad and plays the race card and tries to get away with everything he does,” Lee responded.
It’s a little problematic that “The Bachelorette,” an obviously scripted show, would use faux racial tensions to drive a plot in an attempt to rake in more viewers. The black community has faced real racism before, like forced segregation and separate facilities, that it needed to overcome. But a scripted fight between a black and white contestant just isn’t a real representation of racial struggle.
“The Bachelorette,” a reality show about romance, is probably not the best place to be discussing race relations and racial progress. By offering viewers a seemingly planned re-enactment of a racist situation, the show downplays true racism and the negative effects that it has.
It’s also pretty insulting to viewers to expect them to believe that the racial scenario playing out between Kenny and Lee is real. It makes no sense that Lee, from Tennessee, would enter “The Bachelorette” to date a black woman if he was really racist.
Perhaps producers knew about some of Lee’s views on black organizations before he joined the show. Outlets unearthed tweets that are allegedly from Lee’s Twitter account dating back years ago where he declared that the NAACP is the equivalent to the KKK.
“What’s the difference between the NAACP and the KKK? One has the sense of shame to cover their racist ass face,” one tweet read. Chris Harrison, “The Bachelorette” host, claimed that show producers were unaware of the tweets.
It seems unlikely that producers didn’t come across these tweets, implying that they might have been looking for a character to drum up racial tension on the show.
“The Bachelorette” needs to find another storyline, because this one isn’t working.
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