Please stop using dating shows to embarrass black women


This year I have adjusted to it The bachelor For the first time when ABC announced that Matt James would be the first black bachelor in 24 seasons of picking white men. The announcement came weeks after George Floyd’s death and appeared to be an attempt for the show to correct its racist past. For black women who had adjusted to Matt James and his wide-open approach to kissing, the hope was that we would see a black love story on primetime television. But that quickly resolved. Monday night at Bachelor Nation wasn’t enough, so I added Lifetime’s Married at first sight to my growing rotation of reality TV favorites. This season, experts in Atlanta have held five pandemic-style weddings where strangers meet their partners at the altar. Except that there was something that didn’t really suit me when I tuned in weekly to see one of the two shows: Black women felt like an afterthought, and sometimes just as fodder for action. It is not enough to include black women in order to collect points for “representation”. The real power is to treat their stories as carefully as anyone else’s.

Not only was Matt James’ season historic because he was the first black contender, but it was also the first time 25 of the contestants were identified as BIPOC and at least 10 of those hopefuls were black women. Even before meeting the participants, James had a heart to heart with host Chris Harrison about the pressure to “pick a certain type of woman.”

“That kept me up at night,” he said at the premiere, addressing his biracial identity. “I don’t want to piss off blacks, I don’t want to piss off whites, but I am both. You know what I mean? It’s like how can I please everyone? “The truth is, he didn’t seem to want to please everyone. Some black women, like Chelsea Vaughn, even mentioned on multiple occasions how excited they would be to make history with him, each time receiving a dead look. While other participants gawked at the thought of just being with him, Kristin Hopkins was the only one who asked him how he was mentally handling the pressure.Yes, it’s a small question, but one that goes well beyond the severity of the social settlement im Last summer, James eliminated more than half of the black women, many of whom had little or no time with James, in episode 5. Since the show ended, James has even admitted that he was on the show only about races with women of color spoke, which became apparent after winner Rachael Kirkconnell had a backlash for attending an antebellum-themed party.

But Michelle, a late addition to the show, made it to the finals and the two had chemistry from the start. She and James had a lot in common, even if they were biracial, and James had no doubts about their relationship until the finale. “The fact that I’m sitting here and in love with you I can’t imagine having anyone as my teammate at this point,” she says, before giving him matching Mr. and Mrs. James jerseys. “It’s you I want and it’s hard to imagine walking here without you.” It’s a sweet moment before James replies, “I don’t think I can get there with you.” It’s safe to say that audiences felt a degree of second-hand embarrassment when they saw Michelle stand up forever for a man who didn’t see it for her.

To make matters worse After the last roseWe learn that after the split, Matt turned down Michelle’s application to shut down before she left the show. “There’s no justification why I didn’t have this conversation, and if I had known you felt that way at that moment, I would have struggled to have this conversation,” James said on the aftershow. It is an interesting revelation in the face of Harrison’s call to the people, “a little grace, a little understanding, [and] a little compassion, ”to Kirkconnell. Why was grace and understanding only granted to one woman here?

When it comes to grace Married at first sight Paige Banks is probably the most graceful of them all – even if she shouldn’t be. Paige and Chris were brought together as two godly black professionals, but Paige’s trip on the show was far from a fairy tale. On their wedding day, Chris announced he was engaged three months earlier, a nugget of information that would put a red flag on any newlyweds. But Paige is committed to making it work. The next day, Chris dropped another bomb: he is not attracted to her, even though he slept with her after her big day. The biggest what-the-hell moment happens on their honeymoon when Paige learns that Chris’ ex-fiancée is seven weeks pregnant. Even so, Paige saw their union as ordained by God and stuck up to her husband he decided that he wanted to get a divorce. While the other couples hear “I love you” for the first time and learn the little details of each other, Paige spent most of the time alone on the show. If the two agree on a “reset,” Paige’s requirement is simple: if Chris insists on living apart, she expects to communicate daily by phone or text. Chris, on the other hand, thought that was too much. Chris robbed Paige of the full experience of “being married at first sight”. One wonders how Chris could have qualified as a candidate given all his luggage and why the standard for Paige is so low.

See my decision The bachelor and Married at first sight was because of a desire to see black women win in relationships and that felt promising considering both shows featured them prominently. Instead, they were given the short end of the stick, and that promise got thinner and thinner as the season progressed. Both shows had an opportunity to confirm the feelings of black women on screen, instead playing with their hopes of finding a partner. In the end, The Bachelor Neglect not only hurt the black women she tried to ignore, it hurt James too. On After the rose He shared that explaining to Kirkconnell why their actions were wrong was an enlightening experience, and it is enough if you wish there was an alternate ending for everyone involved. For years the media has made the impression that black women were hard to love, and during a season designed to undo those mistakes The bachelor and Married at first sight did nothing to destroy this perception.

Kristin Corry is a Senior Staff Writer at VICE.


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