A call for change

Ellie Koechner

If 2020 has shown the world anything, it has been the realization that people share more similarities than differences. The year 2020 signifies change, unity and equality. The Black Lives Matter movement has been one of the many movements included, and has led to eye opening opportunities for the nation. 

A call for change throughout the nation has come. One of those calls has come from fans of The Bachelor, a popular TV show airing on ABC. A petition signed in 2020 by over 80,000 fans urged The Bachelor to “reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country.” 

Matt James, 29, is the first black bachelor on the 25th season of ABC’s The Bachelor. 

In 24 previous seasons of The Bachelor and 16 seasons of The Bachelorette, the franchise has featured an astonishing 36 white leads, a majority of which have chosen white partners at the end of the show. 

James is biracial with a black father and a white mother, similar to Tayshia Adams, who appeared on season six of Bachelor in Paradise and season 23 of The Bachelor. In season 18, she stepped in mid-season to be the bachelorette after Clare Crawley left with her newfound love, Dale Moss. 

Though Adams paved the way for James, she also had someone to look up to. Rachel Lindsay was introduced as The Bachelorette’s first Black lead in 2017. In an interview with TIME Magazine, Lindsay spoke out about the huge role she played in the show. 

“When I said I wanted to be the Bachelorette, I said I want this audience to see a lead who looks like me, and who they’ve never seen in this role before. I want you to see that I’m different and how I’m different, but how I’m still deserving of love,” Lindsay said. 

Lily Santel, a sophomore, is fan of The Bachelor and talked about how important it was that this change was made this year. 

“I think it’s very important that The Bachelor has decided to cast a black male because it shows how diversity is evolving in the reality TV show industry. As in seasons past where it has been predominantly a white cast, it is good to see the diversity this season, ” Santel said. 

With that, ABC recognizes that the diversity on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette has not been present in past years, this year they are looking to change that. A little under half of the female contestants on this season are people of color. Chris Harrison, the host of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette spoke out in an interview with E! News about the diversity on the show. 

“I think it’s important to state that it didn’t just start with Clare’s season. This is a movement and something we’ve been working on for quite some time. Step one was realizing there was an issue. And then step two is, ok, let’s do something about that,” Harrison said.

While this is a small step toward change, there is much more to be done. The franchise’s small step has created a big conversation of the future to come.