‘The Bachelor’ has a brotha as the lead, but it’s still bittersweet
When your co-workers dismiss black women in the dating world
I grew up in a household of proud black women of all hues: light-skinned and dark-skinned. Skinny and overweight. Double Ds and flat chests. Tall and short. Coarse and Creole hair. Wide-shouldered and pole thin. Loud and shy. Hysterical and dry-witted. Fashionable and plain. A casual glance at my family reunion photos on both sides of my family features every last one of these women.
These women are happily single or married. They are in situation-ships or relationships. They have childhood crushes or high school sweethearts. They met their partners in college or thought college kids were “snobs.” They have hand-sewn wedding dresses or name-plated limousines. They have itty bitty wedding rings or flash multiple karats. They are some characters. And I always equated relationships with the black women who I grew up observing.
It’s one of the reasons it took me so long to watch “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” I’m not opposed to dating shows though. I remember Chuck Woolery interviewing black singles on the ’80s show “Love Connection.” Nowadays you can find me watching “Black Love,” or Will Packer’s “Ready to Love” and “Put a Ring On It.” I even watched Netflix’s “Too Hot to Handle,” as ridiculous as it was. But I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how “The Bachelorette” was on for 12 seasons before a black woman was the lead.
I didn’t even think about the show until I got to a newsroom that was full of loyal “Bachelor” fans. Not only were these writers and editors into the show. They were so hardcore that they compiled regular photo galleries, debated about every episode and took bets on who would win. When my bosses, a Guatemalan woman and a white woman, asked me to join in, I politely passed. They both looked confused at the audacity of someone not watching the show and urged me to do so. I had no desire.
I watched this happen for a couple of seasons. They never missed an episode and constantly talked about old episodes and upcoming ones. This was their thing. But when Rachel Lindsay was chosen as the first black leading lady in season 13 of “The Bachelorette,” I heard not a word. No galleries. No discussion. No bets. Meanwhile, I’d started tuning in and realized it was a pretty decent show. I kept waiting on all the hoopla again about Season 13 of “The Bachelorette,” but tumbleweed was louder than this same group about this season.