Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A New Kind of Bachelor

Really, It Matters
(A guest post by Deidra Riggs)

I swore off watching “The Bachelor” about seven seasons back. I used to be SO into it. Addicted, really. The romance! The drama! The exotic dates! The Fantasy Suites! The heartbreak! The sobbing in the limo! I. Loved. It. All!!!

Believe me. I don’t blame you if you feel the desire to click away right now and read something that will enhance your intellect, rather than this drivel about a — insert air quotes here — reality show where thirty eleven women throw themselves at one man who ignores the advice you shout at him from the sofa and who never picks the right woman and in the end the one he does pick drops him like a hot potato once the spotlight fades to black. You read about their breakup on the cover of a tabloid at the check out counter in Target and you shake your head and say to your own man, “I knew it! Why do these men never listen to me?” to which your man looks at you with eyes glazed over and says, “Really?”

Yep. I had quit. Cold turkey. But the other night, while scrolling through Facebook, I glimpsed something about a minority on The Bachelor! “What?” I thought to myself. I responded with something like, “We’ll see how long she lasts,” and figured that would be that.

Well, my curiosity got the best of me, and the next day, I logged on to my laptop to watch the episode online. Sure enough! Three black women! THREE! And, not only black women. This is the most diverse cast I’ve ever seen on The Bachelor (and I used the word “cast” intentionally because, let’s face it, the reality show thing is only so real). Later that day, I snuck downstairs and set the DVR to record this season of the show. (Surely, my husband is planning an intervention.)

The irony of this does not escape me.

All around me, people are dating and marrying “outside their race” (as our elders like to call it), and The Bachelor is just now airing an episode where there is a higher than usual statistical possibility that a woman of color will last beyond the halfway point of the season. And...I’m watching it! Can’t tear myself away.

Sean is this season’s blue-eyed, blond-haired bachelor, and my goal is to get inside his head, while not being manipulated by the producers at ABC. Don’t laugh.

Here’s what I want to know: Is he serious? Is he sincere? Is he really okay with dating someone whose culture is different from his? How much of this is about ABC and ratings (I know, I know)?

No. Those aren’t my real questions. What I really want to know is this: Haven’t we come further than this? Why is this such a big deal? Why are we Tweeting and writing status updates and blog posts about women of color on a television dating show? Why has it taken so long for The Bachelor to mix things up like this? And honestly...the real question is...why hasn’t the bachelor or bachelorette ever been a person of color?

Of course, I’m not just talking about The Bachelor. What I really want to know is, how can we say race doesn’t matter — on television, at church, in the corner office, in politics, in the classroom, etc. — when it obviously still does?

~~~
A believer in the unmatched power of story, Deidra seeks to connect people to one another and to God through words. She believes in the value of every person’s story and works hard to make sure we each find our place at the table, and grace to speak the words in our hearts.

Deidra serves as Managing Editor for TheHighCalling.org and writes for DaySpring at incourage.me. The host of JumpingTandem: The Retreat, Deidra is fervently committed to the idea that God wants to change the world through you — yes, you! Connect with Deidra at deidrariggs.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

9 comments:

  1. Uh-huh, what you said. It should not be a big deal at this point, but somehow, it still is. Sigh.

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    1. Agreed, Diana. It is sad that it can still be such a controversial concept...

      Happy you enjoyed Deidra's guest post on my blog! :)

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  2. Hello Ladies!

    I wanted to drop a comment to let you know I came by even though I haven't watched the Bachelor since the very first show. Honestly, I was so embarrassed for these women competing for the attention of one man that I couldn't continue bear to watch it. I was secretly quite glad there were no Black women involved. :) Having them involved now seems to cynical me only a way to boost their level of viewers. Kinda like when they first allow Black women into the Miss USA and Miss America pageants. They weren't there to win - they were' window dressing'. Let the man pick a Black woman over all of them the others. Then they might catch my attention.

    To Alexis: I've read through all of your posts, watched all of the videos and I must say I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR BLOG! Love the writing. Keep up the good work. I'll be looking forward reading what you have next!

    ~ Cassandra from Renaissance Women




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    1. Dear Cassandra,

      I am happy that you enjoyed Deidra's guest post! :) And I agree with you, let the Bachelor propose to a minority (whether Black/Latina/Indian/Middle Eastern, etc.) and THEN tell me about it! ;)

      Thank you for your kind words about my blog! I do have more guest posts planned from other dynamic people and I have a few plans from my own pen, so stay tuned. :)

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  3. Right on point, Deidra. I've never been a huge Bachelor fan because the thing is so contrived and the "winner" always has some backstage drama that comes out after the season finale. But sistahs in the picture? Hmm. Let the games begin!

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