This could possibly be the most revolutionary season of The Bachelor in the show's 17-season history. I'm serious. Sean Lowe may not be rich, a daredevil, or particularly suave, but this guy is a game changer. Literally. The reason? He's down for the swirl. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, that means he dates women of color. In fact, he says that his last serious girlfriend was black. Who knows? Maybe this season a sista actually has a chance!
This whole issue comes up among black fans every season. Usually, we assume the one to two black or Hispanic contestants are basically just tokens they keep on for a couple of episodes before being dinged. The Bachelor or Bachelorette never shows particular interest in them, but they are PC enough to keep them around for a couple of rose ceremonies. This time, however, things may be different.
During episode #2, Robyn, an African American, asked Sean point blank if he's interested in women of color. It could have been a dreadfully awkward moment, but Sean didn't miss a beat. He said he was attracted to women of all races -- and this wasn't just lip service. He also revealed, "My last girlfriend was black." (He's referring to Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Ryan Ray, whom he dated before filming The Bachelorette.) That means Robyn and Leslie actually could win his heart!
There are other diverse faces still in the competition, of course. Catherine is half-Filipino and Selma is Persian, but the show's relationship with African Americans has always been an issue. Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson led a discrimination lawsuit alleging that the show failed to feature non-white cast members. The suit was shot down in court, but criticisms persists. Producer Mike Fleiss' response:
We really tried, but sometimes we feel guilty of tokenism. Oh, we have to wedge African-American chicks in there! We always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.
Not sure if I buy that black and Hispanic women don't try out for the show. But I do agree with the fact that just throwing a few brown chicks in the mix when the Bachelor clearly isn't interested in expanding his dating pool is a bad idea. However, things seem quite different with Sean. Can't wait to see how far these ladies get in the competition now that it's clear there is a genuine interest in dating more than the cookie-cutter brunette or blonde.
Do you think The Bachelor/Bachelorette is becoming more diverse?
Image via ABC