In a season that highlights diversity, “The Bachelor” lands in controversy over the race: NPR


Unmarried Host Chris Harrison, above right, temporarily turned away from the show after controversial remarks regarding race. The franchise’s current season features Matt James, upper left, as the show’s first male black hero.

Craig Sajodin / ABC via Getty Images

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Craig Sajodin / ABC via Getty Images

Unmarried Host Chris Harrison, above right, temporarily turned away from the show after controversial remarks regarding race. The franchise’s current season features Matt James, upper left, as the show’s first male black hero.

Craig Sajodin / ABC via Getty Images

Controversy arrived again BSC.

For nearly 20 years, the producers of the franchise have been bringing out love stories almost simultaneously across the show and its subsidiaries, And bachelorette And the Bachelor of Heaven. However, the franchise’s record in diversity has been remarkably slow. In 2012, two black men auditioned for the show She filed an unsuccessful class action lawsuit Against it due to racial discrimination. It took 15 years for the franchise to announce black lead, Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay in 2017.

Fans and contestants alike had been hoping to select Matt James last year as the first black man to star in BSC It would represent a paradigm shift. However, despite starting the season with the most diverse actors in the franchise’s history, the show is once again facing criticism over race.

Earlier this month, pictures surfaced of contestant Rachel Kirkconnell wearing a prewar gown at an Old-South party in 2018. Other photos allegedly show her wearing Native American as an outfit.

Kirckconnell released Apology, Saying, “My ignorance was racist,” but the controversy escalated when host Chris Harrison sat down with Lindsay for an interview with additional. During the interview, Harrison condemned the “awake police” and defended Kirkconnell.

Harrison said, “These girls put on their clothes, went to a party and had a great time; they were 18 years old. Now, does that make it okay? I don’t know Rachel, tell me that.” His comments were met with condemnation from many former contestants. He has since apologized Advertise It will temporarily take away from the show.

For Brandy Monk Payton, a black cultural and media scholar at Fordham University, the recent controversy over the program is not at all surprising.

“I have been criticizing excellence for diversity, equality and inclusion for at least a decade,” she told Michel Martin. Day interview All things considered.

According to Monk Payton – who previously wrote about the role of Lindsay as the first black Bachelorette The problem of franchising with diversity is associated with refraining from making fundamental changes in production.

“I think the privilege is in the diversity of public courts. It goes to great lengths to promote itself as more inclusive and equitable. They hire advisors, for example, but it doesn’t fundamentally commit to some kind of long-term change in front of and behind the camera.”

When asked about diversity in BSC In 2011, the series creator Mike Fleisse She said In an interview with Entertainment Weekly That people of color simply didn’t test the show.

“We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty about the icon. Oh, we have to get African American chicks in there! We always want to look for racial diversity, it’s just for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I said Fleis.”

Monk-Payton argues that the series’ fondness for drama helps lay the groundwork for the ongoing controversy.

“I also think there’s a little bit of a sense that there are going to be controversial personalities and that these cast members are going to express themselves or have a behavior that will be in front of the camera. And you can get a financial shot. You can also have it, you know, some kind of dramatic scene. You can. Getting a revealing or showing that’s very profitable for the entire franchise in terms of audience attention, “she says.

On the issue of whether the show exploits stereotypes, Monk Payton thinks so The UnmarriedThe traditional goal of participation hinders his ability to challenge negative attitudes or opinions.

“I want to put it in the context of it being a reality show. It tries to get claims about certain forms of authenticity and truth that other fictional shows don’t. So I think she tried to criticize different stereotypes about black femininity, femininity and masculinity. But there is a way when it gets put into this idea.” Traditional and traditional and so heterogeneous for marriage, it becomes very difficult to get out of those really narrow frameworks. ” Says.

Monk-Payton, like many color fans, has watched the show for years, despite the fact that she doesn’t see herself as represented in its content. But she knows why you’ll keep tuning it.

I mean, as a black woman who considers herself a part of BSC Nation fandom, I’ve always had a contrasting relationship with the franchise and its overwhelming whiteness. Historically speaking, she has never spoken to me in terms of her romance representation. And not only that, but also who will be the object of desire. And there is still something, no matter how contrived, about this kind of fantasy of being romantic in an amazing way that flatters and lasts too.

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