Rachel Lindsay is calling on Bachelor Nation to do better. In a new interview, the star of the 13th season of The Bachelorette and the only Black lead in the Bachelor franchise’s 40-season history expressed valid frustration in her singularity.
“There’s been one person of color [leading the show] in 40 seasons,” Lindsay told Page Six. “We have 45 presidents. There has been one person of color. We are literally on par to saying that you are more likely to become the president of the United States than you are to be the lead of this franchise. That is insane.”
As Entertainment Tonight noted in March, the season in which Lindsay starred, was the most diverse in show history. While the show has tried to make gains, they have not been without their roadblocks. Many of the Black and contestants during Peter Weber’s season as Bachelor experienced racism and harassment from online trolls.
“I know it’s uncomfortable for you to see,” Lindsay said during the season’s “Women Tell All” episode. “Just imagine how uncomfortable it is to get this in your comments and your DMs every day, every week, every month. And you guys, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
So now, as the United States and the world at large grapple with racism and microaggressions in a major, overdue way, Lindsay is also holding The Bachelor and The Bachelorette accountable.
“How can I sit back and be quiet, when I am a part of something that isn’t as supportive or doesn’t reflect who I am?” she asked Page Six. “I just feel like if anybody is in my position, you couldn’t sit quiet about that … And I don’t think that anyone would fault me — a higher up in the franchise — for saying that.”
She stood firm in her belief that “that franchise has the power to do whatever they want, including having a lead of color, and it’s time to stop making excuses,” especially after she saw the way Bachelor in Paradise facilitated its first on-screen same-sex relationship between Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty.
“When I look at what’s happening in our country, and then I look at the franchise, I can’t continue to be affiliated,” Lindsay added. “It’s embarrassing, honestly, at this point, to be affiliated with a franchise who is not on the right side of this.”
She also said that she and husband Bryan Abasolo have had heartfelt conversations about race, and how the world will task them to think about race as far as their children are involved, too. “I told Bryan, ‘Listen, we’re in an interracial relationship and our children are going to be biracial,'” Lindsay said. “We don’t know what they’ll look like, but at the end of the day, they’re going to be seen as Black. And so, the issues that are happening right now can directly affect our children because they will be Black.”
Abasolo, who is a white Latino of Colombian descent, is also using his platform to speak out against racism, and specifically police brutality and the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer. “The Black community has been trying to tell us since forever ago, but we didn’t listen, didn’t care, or just didn’t pay attention because it didn’t affect us. I, along with every other non-Black person, has been guilty of this at some point,” he wrote on Instagram.
He added, “But here we are now…what side of history will you be on? The side that continues to coddle their privilege and turn a blind eye to what’s really going on? Or the side that calls out and denounces racism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head? There’s only one right answer. All lives won’t matter until Black lives do.”
Before you go, click here to see kid-friendly TV shows that educate about race.