The Bachelor: A Rose is Every Bit as Sweet as Controversy

by Mia DeSantis
Mia DeSantis

The current season of ABC’s “The Bachelor” has been tagged the “most diverse” season of the series with the first-ever Black bachelor, Matt James. Seeing that this is the 19th season of the show, it’s about time. In 2021, we now live in a time where representation in the media is being given the spotlight – great, right? So, what’s the catch? The catch is that this is 2021 and your social media past can come back to haunt you. BOO, BITCH!

In addition to the current season of “The Bachelor”, it has also been highly controversial.

Not only has one of the front-running contestants, herein referred to as Ms. Contestant caught in a racial controversy, but the host of the show, Chris Harrison, is also now in the cancel-culture wood chipper for his comments and defense of Ms. Contestant attending an Antebellum-themed party during her recent college days.

Ms. Contestant issued a statement on social media essentially saying, “I’m sorry; I didn’t know.” And how she is “learning and will continue to learn how to be anti-racist…”? But really… how did she not know? Did she try turning her racism on and off again?

Before we continue, it is not my intention to ruin this woman’s life or career. To her credit, she apologized and took accountability for her actions. I’m merely trying to understand “not knowing” that celebrating a time in history that represented a lot of pain for a lot of people is not okay? In my best Sir David Frederick Attenborough voice, we are now getting a rare glimpse of Black history being taught by the entertainment industry.

This is not the first time that I’ve learned about Black history from a TV show.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know what Juneteenth or what an Antebellum-themed party was until recently. I also didn’t know that the Tulsa Race Massacre was a real event (courtesy of HBO’s “Watchmen”) and killed a lot of people. The total number of deaths are unknown because the place where the records were stored burned down.

Not going to lie, I felt dumb for not knowing these things because why did I not know? Of all the history courses I’ve taken, both in high school and in college, were these things not discussed? Are entertainment-based television writers and producers now responsible for teaching the masses about Black history?

It explains why writers and teachers don’t get paid nearly enough.

Also, slightly unrelated, I was today years old to find out that there were Jewish communities in the South during the Civil War Era, such as Mobile, Alabama, where they ran plantations and yup, you guessed it, owned slaves! WHAT?! As a Jew whose entire religion revolves around being freed from slavery and suffering, I never would have imagined that they would enslave others, but THEY FUCKING DID.

How do I know this? My kindred spirit, Larry David, found out while retracing his family history on PBS’s show, “Finding Your Roots.” He learned that not only was there a synagogue in Mobile, Alabama, –which in itself is astonishing– but his ancestor was a slave owner. He reacted like… well, Larry David.

2021 is the Christmas Carol of our social media lives-it is the past, present, and future. If you say something bad, not even Kellyanne Conway can save you. The internet is the ghost of Christmas future telling Scrooge to get bent and stop posting racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic stuff…or else.

As the series finale of “The Bachelor” airs, I have so many questions.

Will he be forced to send Ms. Contestant home or will she leave on her own? Will Ms. Contestant be saved by Matt’s forgiving nature? Will Chris Harrison be leaving his job of twenty-five years for his blatant racial insensitivity?

I’m curious to find out how Matt navigates through the hurt of one of Ms. Contestant’s past actions. With the most diverse season of the show, it seems that with every step forward towards racial equality in entertainment, there are a few steps back.

Regardless of the outcome, I sincerely hope that this is a learning opportunity for all parties involved and we can highlight representation for those who have been hidden for so long for a worthy cause we all need right now: love.

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