This season of The Bachelorette has been interesting in all the usual ways AND because the topic of race has been out front and center, which is unusual in any setting. When president Obama was first elected there was a lot of talk about the nation becoming more color-blind—the then Attorney General Eric holder said that “we need to have open, honest discussions about race.” Amen, brother, if only that had happened.
Instead, it feels at times like we have taken a few steps backwards—though I am in the camp that believes that once a bell has been rung you can’t un-ring it. So yes, as a nation we have evolved, especially when we look at the overall attitudes of the youngest members of our society.
Take the latest group of bachelors who were chosen to court Rachel. They are a mixed bag of races and ethnicities—and their ages spanned from a number of years younger than Rachel to a few years older. Clearly when Rachel was asked about her type/preference, she expressed openness.
What has struck this viewer about this group is how cohesive they have been, with very few exceptions. Every season has a “bad guy or girl,” that person who just can’t seem to get along with the rest of the group, who causes problems for specific individuals, and who may be talking trash in order to disqualify a rival. This time, it’s Lee. Interestingly enough, most of the guys liked him at first, some even defended him after he began acting out. His behavior has been examined and interpreted by many, and he has been called a racist by some, but my view is that lee has a lot going on beneath the surface and I’m not sure anyone really gets him.
Because he targeted one of the black suitors, the label racist began to stick. Lee also has sent tweets since the show ended that could be construed as racist—but who really know? The silver lining to all of this drama came this week on the “Men tell All” segment—in case you are not a watcher, this is when all but the last few to be decided men come on the show to rehash their experience with the Bachelorette and each other. Needless to say, Lee was on the hot seat. There were a couple of others who were targeted a bit, but not like Lee.
The guys seemed split on how they view lee and his motives—and this split did not fall on racial lines. Some of the white guys were harder of him that some of the black guys. What was interesting were Lee’s responses. He was very slow in responding and almost sounded like he was speaking from a rehearsed script. To say he was non-specific would be a huge understatement. The guys challenged him over and over to respond with specifics and acknowledge what he has said/written that made him sound like a racist. Towards the end, he kinda-sorta did, and overall the guys responded with forgiveness and thanks for him doing so. What a GREAT group of guys.
As I watched and listened, I thought about Holder’s words and how this is what he must have meant. There was an openness and candidness that was delivered without malice, threats, name-calling, or hostility. The guys were direct but appropriate, and they spoke from a place of vulnerability. At the end, I almost felt a Kum-bay-ah moment, which I hope will encourage others to have these kinds of discussions that inevitably lead to highlighting how truly alike were all really are and how any difference we have are really only skin-deep.
Oh and the last 3 bachelors are comprised of 2 white guys and one black guy. I am rooting for Eric—and no, it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. If Rachel doesn’t want him, I’m considering adoption.