Dear ABC, diversity is not just black and white

Ellen McDonald Volunteer Writer [email protected]

During the finale of the sixth season of ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise,” fans of the show were left disappointed after the announcement of the newest bachelor. It is no secret to anyone familiar with the Bachelor universe that there have only been two racially diverse love interests: Rachel Lindsay, the first and only African-American female love interest during season thirteen of “The Bachelorette,” and Juan Pablo Galavis, an American-born Venezuelan during the eighteenth season of “The Bachelor.” Other than these two individuals, all Bachelors and Bachelorettes have been Caucasian.

For years ABC has been quoted as saying they are waiting for the perfect African-American male to come along. Well ABC, you have missed casting the perfect choice.

During the last season of “The Bachelorette,” audiences across the nation fell in love with Mike Johnson, a charismatic, genuine and caring man. We had to watch Hannah Brown, the love interest during Johnson’s season, break his heart. All he wanted to do was “find his queen,” while Bachelor Nation, the formal name for fans of the television show, wanted nothing more than to watch him do so as the next bachelor.

Bachelor Nation was outraged over Johnson not being cast as the first African American Bachelor. Instead of Johnson, Peter Weber was announced as the next love interest within the franchise. In an interview with People Magazine, Johnson said: “I think of diversity as more than just black and white. And yes, Peter has a Cuban mom, but let’s just be honest: he’s white, right? And that’s just being completely transparent.”

Johnson did not stop with saying that diversity is more than just “black and white.” He later went on during his People interview to add, “I think that there should be an Asian lead, an Indian lead … diversity is not just black and white. It’s not just salt and pepper.” Johnson explains that the backlash ABC has received should not be over the show not casting an African-American over a Caucasian man but rather about ABC still continuing its nearly 18-year streak of not being culturally diverse.

Not everyone finds a white, brunette male to be ideal. ABC appeals to what they believe the masses find attractive: tall, skinny white men. ABC has followed this method since 2002. Due to the television show being successful for this long, one can assume that ABC might be thinking, “Why change now?”

As media progresses within the modern world, so does cultural and racial representation. We have movies today with Asian love interests such as “Crazy Rich Asians.” There are television shows with Indian leads like “The Mindy Project” and “The Big Bang Theory.” If our movies and television shows can adapt to a modern representation of society, then shouldn’t we also expect “The Bachelor” to do so?

It is long overdue for diverse casting of one of the most popular and longest running reality television shows. Bachelor Nation has been waiting for too long. So ABC, when are you going to step up to the challenge and cast someone other than a white guy?