TOTD: “Will you accept this responsibility?”: Racism on The Bachelor

February 23, 2021 - Joslyn Miller

The Bachelor: the show many of us hate to love is now giving viewers of the franchise reasons to just hate it. Recently, allegations have come to light about contestant and front runner Rachael Kirkconnell. Images have surfaced of Kirkconnell attending an Old South antebellum-themed party, dressing in culturally appropriating costumes, sharing right-wing QAnon conspiracies on social media, and making fun of classmates in high school for liking and dating Black men. 

Photos courtesy of Cosmopolitan

After these images surfaced, Rachel Lindsay, talk show host and the first Black Bachelorette,  interviewed host Chris Harrison and gave him the opportunity to condemn her actions and take accountability for the franchise. Instead, he made excuses and and requested that she be given grace stating “I’m not defending Rachael [Kirkconnell] — I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party a lot of people went to. My guess? These girls got dressed and went to a party and had a great time. They were 18 years old. Does that make it okay ? I don’t know Rachel [Lindsay], you tell me… but where is this lens we’re holding up and was that lens available and were we all looking through it in 2018?” – Chris Harrison, ExtraTv Interview.
To answer his question, no, it was not okay to have a party where predominantly white sorority and fraternity members dressed up as slave owners and gathered at a plantation. Regardless of whether we looked at things through the same “lens” that we do now, it was never “right.” This situation is a glaring example of white privilege and the disassociation that white people had and still have toward racism and this country’s past.
In this video, the Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew of podcast duo “The Blckellorettes: Vic and Mi” explains to Chris Harrison, Rachael Kirkconnell, and The Bachelor production team the implications of what they have done (or not done) about these instances of overt racism:
As someone who watches The Bachelor franchise religiously, I think that this situation can only encourage us to continue to be actively anti-racist. Here are some things that you can do:

  • Hold people accountable for what they do and say.
  • Ask questions and engage in meaningful conversations about prejudices that you or others may.
  • Educate yourself! Attend lectures, conferences, and presentations, and read about race-related issues.


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