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What If Colton Underwood Is Just Asexual?

If asexuality were a more widely known, understood, and validated orientation, would people like Underwood have such a difficult time accepting their lack of interest in sex?

Observer

America has had a problem with Colton Underwood's sexuality since he became "the world's most famous virgin" in 2019.

While a reality TV show like The Bachelor is no place to find enlightened social commentary, the series' first virgin lead put the concept of virginity under public scrutiny. What is virginity? Does it even exist? In reality, it's as much a social construct as gender. Still, we seem to agree that women have the right to be as (in)experienced as they want, but if a 28-year-old man (and former pro-football player, no less) is still a virgin, then he must be gay, right?

As Underwood told Entertainment Tonight while promoting his book, The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, he's been plagued by rumors about his sexuality for years. "Even now, I still battle gay rumors when I'm with Cassie, but that's how it was for me as a young kid in grade school and high school," he said. "I can deal with them now."

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TV Features

"The Bachelor" Casting Its First Black Star Doesn't Correct the Show's Racist History

Matt James is ABC's first Black bachelor in nearly two decades.

After a grueling 18 years on the air, ABC's Bachelor franchise has accomplished a long-overdue milestone: casting its first Black bachelor.

Matt James, a 28-year-old real estate broker from North Carolina, was announced this week as the first Black star of The Bachelor in its 25 seasons. Hardcore fans might recognize him as the best friend of Tyler Cameron, a recent Bachelorette contestant competing for the heart of Hannah Brown. James has a perfect TV smile and likes to goof off making TikToks with his friends—what's not to love? He was originally selected to be a competitor on The Bachelorette this year, before production was shut down for obvious reasons. Here's to hoping we get our trashy reality TV back as soon as possible!

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Instagram

Bachelor Nation has always been known for forcing its contestants and leads to conform to societal norms.

Whether or not the franchise would like to admit it, the majority of their audience is Caucasian Christians. So when Demi Burnett, the "villain" from Colton Underwood's season, took to Twitter to reveal that she's, in fact, a "queer queen," backlash was expected. Immediately, the former contestant received hateful direct messages all across her social platforms, specifically on Twitter. While the majority of her cast members spoke out in support of Demi, the trailer for the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise frustrated queer viewers with how it depicted Burnett.

Bachelor in Paradise 2019 (First Look) Trailer www.youtube.com

The woman Demi is making out in the Paradise trailer is her girlfriend, Kristian Haggerty. She's never before been involved with the show, aside from knowing a former contestant, Catherine Agro, who introduced her to Demi. Some viewers, like myself, grew worried that the show brought on Demi's girlfriend to use a same-sex relationship to, in short, pat itself on the back for "progressive" representation.

That has yet to play out, but we'll see how it does on August 19th on ABC. Until then, no one can truly judge what happens without watching the footage. But in last night's episode, a simple but moving moment happened: Demi came out to multiple cast members. She sat down with fellow Paradise contestant and friend, Katie Morton, to discuss her predicament. While she enjoys pursuing Derek Peth, she cannot stop thinking about the woman she was dating back home. Demi discussed her feelings about not wanting to hurt anyone in her process of self-discovery, her desire to be open and explore her options, but also her internal struggles.

Katie actively listened and didn't make a point to comment until Demi expressed concern over what will people think of her. Katie assured her, "First of all, it doesn't matter what anyone feels about it." Katie and Demi's shared movement clearly conveyed how much of a toll hiding one's sexual identity can take on a person. Afterward, Demi let go of the persona she'd put on for show. She noted how tired she was of being strong, putting up a shield, and not fully allowing herself to embrace her sexuality.

The heart-stopping moment was more meaningful than when she came out to her current love interest, Derek, or fellow contestant, Tayshia. This was a real moment between two close friends who support one another. When they tearfully hugged, I was in tears. The scene was relatable to many queer people, especially those attracted to both men and females. Demi struggled to feel "okay" and accept herself, which is an experience that viewers across America still need to be exposed to. Representation is important for media's normalization of queer people, no matter where they fall in the spectrum of sexual orientation, and for a network reality television program as conservative as the Bachelor franchise to take a step forward provides hope.

Unfortunately, the first time a Bachelor contestant came out as liking both men and women, the situation was (shockingly!) not handled respectfully. When Jaimi King, a contestant on Nick Viall's season, joined Paradise, it was over-sensationalized. She was portrayed as a wild card who would try to snatch up both women and men—who knows if she could commit to anyone! But that was back in 2017. A lot can change in a couple years in the Bachelor world.

No matter what comes later this season on Bachelor in Paradise, Demi coming out to Katie, Tayshia, and Derek is noteworthy and felt genuine. Demi may be scared, but as Katie mentioned, she "should be brave," and we all deserve friends and love like that.

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Why Hannah Brown Was the Best Bachelorette Yet

Lessons from a thorny, final rose.

When we first met Hannah Brown, she packaged herself as "Alabama Hannah" proudly shouting, "Roll Tide!"

She immediately made an impression, establishing a policy of honesty on night one with season 23 Bachelor, Colton Underwood. Hannah was granted the first one-on-one date of the season and definitely made a splash, if perhaps an awkward one, when Colton asked the former Miss America contender to make a toast and she could barely form a coherent sentence.

Is Colton Regretting His First One-On-One Date With Hannah B? | The Bachelor US www.youtube.com

That evening, Hannah divulged in her Talking Head segment that the date "did get back on track," a phrase that would come to haunt the future Bachelorette. During the evening portion of their date, Hannah and Colton connected through their shared value of virginity. She opened up to him, sharing that although she'd committed to remain a virgin until marriage, she'd broken that promise to herself. Hannah explained that she didn't "feel perfect" because she "couldn't give that [her virginity] to somebody." The intimate moment foreshadowed all the sources of insecurity Hannah would have to grapple with and overcome on her season of The Bachelorette.

When Hannah first got her start on The Bachelor, she stirred drama in the house with former Miss North Carolina, Caelynn Miller Keyes, and unveiled her alter ego: the rambunctious, silly, and odd Hannah BEAST. The Bachelor didn't set her up as a candidate to be the next Bachelorette with that unflattering edit. Typically, a wild child, drama-stirring, 23-year-old would not be chosen to lead the show. Or, at least, it seemed that way until she didn't receive a rose on her second one-on-one and was sent home. In her exit, Hannah spoke to the camera about how she deserved to "be loved fiercely" and chosen every day. The stirring speech resonated with women across the nation, serving up a perfect and genuine pick for the next Bachelorette. Then, on the Women Tell All episode, Chris Harrison offered her the opportunity to redo her awful toast. Hannah graciously spoke, saying, "Cheers to this beautiful day together, new experiences, and continuing to being honest, real every moment we have together, and Roll Tide."

Fast forward to Hannah's turn as the Bachelorette, where she sent men packing for—to put it bluntly—their disingenuous b*llsh*t. It became clear Hannah valued honesty above all, so when Jed Wyatt—an obvious frontrunner on her season—disclosed that he initially went on the show to promote his music, she thanked him for his honesty. Unfortunately, two weeks after their one-on-one aired, People Magazine broke the story that Wyatt's intentions were even less pure than Brown knew. His ex-girlfriend, Haley Stevens, told People that he never broke up with her. According to Stevens, Jed spent the night with her before he flew to LA, left her a love note, and called her once he got there, saying, "I love you, and I'll call you when I get back."

On the season finale Tuesday night, the show aired footage of the recently engaged Brown grilling her fiancé about the story. After they got engaged, Wyatt had told Brown he had been seeing someone before the show, but they had broken it off beforehand. In the course of the conversation, she questioned everything about their relationship and even brought up how much it bothered her that he told his friends that he "won" instead of that he was "engaged." Thankfully, Brown ultimately broke off the engagement. When she spoke with Chris Harrison on After the Final Rose segment, she told him,

"I have been in love with somebody in my past who lied to me, who cheated on me, and I tried to make it work. But I'm not that girl anymore, and that's been something I've been so proud of. So, no matter how much it hurts, I won't allow myself to be stuck in [something] for any longer than I should be. I deserve better."

Between Luke P. and Jed, Hannah's had a lot of experience and heartbreak to unpack, reflect on, and grow. To the dismay of many viewers, Luke P. cast a big shadow on Hannah's season of The Bachelorette. His lying, manipulative ways were easy to spot, distracting Hannah from Jed's less obvious deception. Throughout her season, the contestants would try to warn her about Luke's toxicity, but she'd ignore them in favor of the feeling of security he offered. On the Men Tell All she explained, "I was really insecure. I knew that no guy was actually there for me because they didn't know who the Bachelorette was going to be." Luke P. offered Hannah security because she could tell he was really there for her, regardless of his alarming behavior.

While Hannah had enough of Luke P.'s toxicity and sent him home, a sly cheater like Jed can be harder to spot. The two men forced Hannah to reconcile with who she is and what she deserves. Sadly, it wasn't until Luke P. gaslit her for potentially having sex with the remaining men that she realized she deserved better. Similarly, Hannah failed to acknowledge any of Jed's red flags or warning signs from her family, his family, and even from Jed himself (i.e. Jed bringing his guitar everywhere, including his proposal. Ew.). Jed felt like the right man to "settle down" with, so Hannah ignored her misgivings for as long as she could. She needed to read and circle lines from the People Magazine article to finally realize the kind of person Jed is.

Unfortunately, Hannah Brown is like many women across the nation who were taught to believe they should feel lucky to have found someone who wants them. In her relationship with Tyler C., she never felt fully deserving of the love, support, and respect he had for her (on top of his great looks), so she rejected him. At the end of Colton's season, Hannah still felt the pressure to be perfect and the need for validation, all the while seeking a relationship. Luckily, at the end of her season, Hannah came to terms with her insecurities and concluded that she doesn't need a husband. This revelation may not be a shocking one, but it's a lesson that hopefully reached girls and women across the nation.

In the end, Hannah's season of The Bachelorette was the best yet because it culminated in a different kind of happy ending: Hannah, a single woman, realizing her full worth. She broke away from toxic relationships, promoted sex positivity, maintained her voice, and dismantled her own insecurities. The Bachelorette may still be single, but audiences got to watch her learn more about who she is and what she deserves, and that's much more valuable.

TV

A Bachelor Nation History Lesson: The Franchise's Wildest Moments

Here are the most notable yet lesser known moments in the franchise's wild and problematic history.

ABC

Before Luke P. came around for the Bachelorette Hannah Brown finally gave him a piece of her mind, the franchise had plenty of wild moments.

Nowadays Bachelor Nation is compromised of many new fans who are unaware of the series' past. A proper history lesson can allow a fan to be better equipped to converse, compare, and critique shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Here are the most notable but less-known crazy moments for those Bachelor Nation newbies.

Jesse Palmer Says the Wrong Name

Before getting to harsher realities of the program, we'll start with something light.

Learning 24 names during one evening would be difficult for anybody. The Bachelor season 5 lead, Jesse Palmer, happened to say the wrong woman's name. Instead of giving a rose to Karen, he accidentally gave it to Katie, someone he meant to send home on night one. Embarrassed, he extended the invitation for Katie to stay, which she unfortunately accepted. Katie deserved better!

Jesse Gives Rose to the Wrong Girl - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

Lindsay Yenter Reacts in the Best Way

During Bachelor Sean Lowe's season finale, he sent home frontrunner Lindsey Yenter. When he went to walk her out, she took off her heels in a smooth IDGAF move: big mood.

Sad Music - Sean Lowe says "Goodbye" to Lindsey Yenter - Bachelor 2013 www.youtube.com

2-on-1 in The Badlands

Before the emotional intelligence showdown between Corinne and Taylor, Bachelor Nation staple Ashley laconetti got into it with Chris Soules's contestant, Kelsey Poe. Their 2-on-1 was one of the most uncomfortable, dramatic dates the franchise has ever seen. Iaconetti called out Poe for being condescending; Poe then used her talking head segment to put Ashley down for generally being dumb, fake, young, and wearing too much make-up. The season was shot in 2014, which demonstrates how recent tearing down women was seen as okay.

The Bachelor - 2-on-1 Date Awkward Silence www.youtube.com

Skinny Dipping Seen Around the Nation

We remember when the season's villain, Courtney Robertson, won Ben Flajnik's heart on the 16th season of The Bachelor. Their engagement was a surprise to many. Similarly, viewers across the nation were shocked when the show aired the two skinny-dipping in Puerto Rico. In retrospect, the 2012 controversial moment now looks like a lot of good fun.

Ben And Courtney Go Midnight Skinny Dipping! | The Bachelor US www.youtube.com

Brooks Forester Breaks Up with The Bachelorette

The season 17 Bachelorette, Desiree Hartsock, was shocked and heartbroken when Brooks Forester broke up with her right before the finale. In tears, she seemed ready to choose and build a life with the contestant. Luckily, all ended happily for the lead; in 2015 she married the winner of her season, Chris Siegfrield.

Brooks Breaks Up With Desiree - The Bachelorette www.youtube.com

Everything Juan Pablo

Juan Pablo was the worst, most misogynistic Bachelor the show has ever seen. Andi called out the Bachelor for belittling her decision to be there, runner-up Clare told him off for breaking up with her after claiming he loved her, and yet he only told the winner, Nikki Ferrel, that he likes her "a lot," with a wink.

The Bachelor - Juan Pablo Tells Andi It's Okay www.youtube.com


Who Can Forget This Epic Moment from Monday's Finale of The Bachelor? www.youtube.com


Bachelor 2014 - Nikki Ferrell Gets The Final Rose www.youtube.com

Nick Viall Slut-Shames Andi Dorfman

Andi was never afraid to put a man in his place for his unwise words. On her Bachelorette season's "After the Final Rose" episode, Nick asked Andi why she had sex with him if she did not love him. The lead immediately rejected the inappropriate, sexist question, retorting that it was "below the belt" and should "be kept private."

Bachelorette Finale - Nick Confronts Andi About Sex Suite www.youtube.com

Kaitlyn Bristowe's Caught on Camera with Nick Viall

On Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe's season, she decided to break from the format and be intimate with a contestant before the show's Fantasy Suites. Bristowe later received a lot of backlash for the decision. In fact, back to back Bachelorettes bore the brunt of the show's sexist double standard about sex.

Kaitlyn and Nick Get it On - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

Rozlyn Is Accused of Hooking Up with a Producer

The show has never and will never fully protect the women on any of the franchise's shows. On Jake Pavelka's season of The Bachelor, the production team decided to humiliate contestant Rozlyn Papa for having an "inappropriate" relationship with a producer to stir up drama. The unnecessary moment will go down in the show's absurd and emotionally abusive history. PSA: No matter what anyone says, Chris Harrison is complicit and the show doesn't need him.

Rozlyn Accused Of "Inappropriate" Relationship With TV Producer | The Bachelor US www.youtube.com

Jake Pavelka's On-Air Breakup With Vienna Girardi

The winner of Jake Pavelka's season, Vienna Girardi, broke down during an interview with Pavelka and host, Chris Harrison. As Girardi begins to explain herself, Pavelka butts in; when she tries to get in another word, he verbally reprimands his fiancé. The Bachelor continued to mistreat Giardi, truly looking like a psychopath comparable to Luke P.

Jake and Vienna's Breakup - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

A Blatant Racist on Rachel Lindsay's Season

Instead of giving the racist contestant from Rachel Lindsay's season a cameo on this listicle, the harassed contestant Kenny King will get the floor. The Bachelorette production gained a lot of criticism for completely mishandling their first black Bachelorette's season by casting Lee Garrett on the show—a man who once equated Black Lives Matter to "terrorism." Critics are still questioning whether or not the show even deserves to have another person of color lead the show after this complete mess.

Kenny Voices His Frustrations About Lee - The Bachelorette 13x4 www.youtube.com

Emily Maynard's Daughter Is Not Baggage

Single mother Emily Maynard shot down contestant Kalon after word spread that he called her daughter "baggage." Maynard refused to tolerate that and immediately sent him home like the badass she was.

The Bachelorett- Emily Vs. Kalon www.youtube.com

Brad Womack Chooses No One

Brad Womack stunned viewers across the nation when he ended up with none of the 25 contestants from his season. While the Bachelor came back to lead a second season, he has still yet to find love, even after becoming engaged to the future Bachelorette star, Emily Maynard.

Brad Picks No One - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

The Jason Mesnick Move

Before Arie Luyendyk Jr. broke up with Becca Kufrin to chase after the runner-up and his now wife, Lauren Burnham, in a historic, unedited scene, season 4 Bachelor Jason Mesnick broke up with the winner, Melissa, for Molly on-air. As the wildest moment on the franchise, this laid the foundation for Luyendyk Jr. to also get ripped apart by America's Bachelor Nation. Fortunately, all worked out for everyone involved; Jason and Molly are still married 9 years later and have a daughter named Anne, along with Jason's son, Ty. Arie and Lauren also are living happily ever after and have a daughter, Alessi Ren.

Jason Rejects Melissa for Molly - The Bachelor www.youtube.com

#MikeForBachelor

ABC

The fifteenth season of The Bachelorette is winding down, which means buzz about who will be the next Bachelor has already begun.

Hannah Brown's season offers one of the best batches of men Bachelor Nation has seen in awhile. Although, from the get-go, it was apparent who the Bachelorette had her eyes set on (Luke P.), which came with the expectation that those remaining would head down to Bachelor in Paradise. The only viable candidates left for the Bachelor role are Pilot Pete, Tyler C., Jed Wyatt, and Mike Johnson.

Of those final four, two are embroiled in a scandal. People Magazine reported that Jed Wyatt had a girlfriend before leaving for the show. Soon after, news broke that Pilot Pete broke up with his girlfriend when he was cast on the show too. That leaves Tyler C. and Mike Johnson as the only solid options. Both are respectful of women and incredibly easy on the eyes. However, when it comes down to a white candidate versus a black candidate, the Bachelor franchise has selected white candidates 95% of the time.

Three years ago, the show finally cast Rachel Lindsay, the franchise's first black Bachelorette. She was only the second person of color to be cast as the lead in 14 years of the show. Her predecessor, the Venezuelan-born Juan Pablo Galavis, was the first POC to lead the show. He has since been deemed the worst Bachelor, because, well, he's a misogynist. So when it came to Lindsay's season, she faced a lot of pressure to be the first person of color to properly and positively represent her community.

In reality, the first black Bachelorette's season illuminated the show's toxic racial and gender biases. The franchise's creator (and an alleged domestic-abuser), Mike Fleiss, commented on why Lindsay's season had lower ratings than previous ones, "I found it incredibly disturbing in a Trumpish kind of way. How else are you going to explain the fact that she's down in the ratings, when—black or white—she was an unbelievable bachelorette. It revealed something about our fans."

But the poor reception could be attributed to how, after 37 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette combined, there have still only been two people of color cast as leads in the franchise, comprising 5% of the casting choices. One reason Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette had low ratings may be because the show never appealed to an inclusive and diverse fan base. For how progressive the producers claim to be, the shows are clearly lacking in representation of non-white Americans. Maybe it's time for the Bachelor franchise to catch up to the rest of Hollywood by casting Mike Johnson as their first black Bachelor.

However, Air Force veteran Mike Johnson may be wary of furthering his involvement with the franchise because of its history. During an interview with Glamour, Johnson chose to identify himself as the "first veteran Bachelor." He may have said this because he's aware of the position he'd be put in as the first black Bachelor, and he doesn't want his race to be his whole identity.

In 2012, ABC was slapped with a class-action lawsuit by two-would-be contestants who claimed the show under-represented minorities. According to a 2016 Washington Post article titled, "'The Bachelor' Is Embarrassingly White": "The suit alleged ABC features minority contestants in their non-romance reality shows, such as Dancing with the Stars, but that it did not cast people of color in The Bachelor because it was afraid interracial romance would create controversy among its audience." A judge dismissed the case because the show can cast whomever they like under the First Amendment. Regardless, the franchise took note of the criticism. In 2013 and 2014, the show made substantial strides to diversify their cast, yet the number of people of color cast still went down again in the next two years.

Other POC contestants have clearly felt uncomfortable and unprotected by the franchise. Rachel Lindsay's season was a pivotal moment in the show's history, because the production team proved it was incapable of handling the subject of race. The franchise's past clearly shows that their format works to benefit white contestants and favor white leads.

Why does this show even deserve the opportunity to represent a person of color?

In 2016, Splinter's analysis found that 59% of black contestants from both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette left the shows within two weeks, leaving 41% to be sent home by week five. That remained the case until The Bachelor's 21st season, when Rachel Lindsey made it all the way to Fantasy Suites week, becoming the season's second runner-up and the next Bachelorette— the franchise's first black lead.

When her season of The Bachelorette debuted, the show congratulated itself on being "historic" for casting a black woman as the lead of a network television show, but tense racial issues soon became apparent on the show. From night one, Lindsay laughed off a contestant's (Dean Unglert) salacious pick-up line, "I'm ready to go black and never go back." In a later episode, another white contestant (Peter Kraus) rapped that Linsday was a "girl from the hood." To be clear, this Bachelorette is a lawyer whose father is a federal judge, and she was raised in an upper-middle class area of Dallas, Texas.

Problems escalated when one contestant's racist tweets surfaced. Lee Garrett had once equated Black Lives Matter to "terrorism," and yet he was permitted to remain on the show for weeks in order to play the villain. Lee went on to specifically goad black contestants. For instance, he continuously attempted to instigate altercations with single father Kenny King, to fuel the stereotype that all black men are aggressive and prone to violence. Another black contestant, Will Gaskins, informed Lee, "There is a long-standing history in this country of regarding black men in America as aggressive to justify a lot of other things." Ultimately, Lindsay sent Lee home after believing that sweetheart Kenny would never get physical or threaten Lee. Regardless, that didn't stop the show from editing the one-on-one footage for the episode's promos to make the viewer wonder if Kenny King did, indeed, become violent.

Lee's blatant harassment of black contestants highlighted many irresponsible practices within The Bachelor franchise. First, the show's background checks were clearly not thorough enough to catch this man's tweets. Secondly, producers allowed the Bachelorette to experience harassment herself: She was forced to deal with a racist contestant disguised as a well-meaning man vying for her affections. Thirdly, the production did not intervene when Lee created dangerous situations for black contestants.

Rachel Lindsay later spoke out about the show's mishandling of her season and mistreatment of her as a black woman. In an interview with US Weekly, she called out the Bachelor franchise for leaving out the loving moments between her and her winner, Bryan Abasolo. Instead, they focused the majority of the finale on her breakup with Peter, prompting Lindsay to assert, "You know more about the journey of my breakup than the journey to my proposal acceptance." Lindsay went on to explain:

"Let's just be honest, Becca did not have the finale that I had. There was no controversy and she was not put in a position to face any. She was protected and I was placed on display for three hours and labeled an angry black female. And there will always be that stigma attached to my finale because it has been said that when truth is blurred by misinformation, perception becomes reality and all is lost."

Linsday is referring to the former Bachelorette, Becca Kufrin, and her fiancé, Garrett Yrigoyen. Yrigoyen came under fire for liking very offensive social-media posts—ones that mocked trans people, immigrant children, and other minorities, including a post insinuating that the Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg was a "crisis actor." It's concerning but unsurprising that one of the Bachelorette's white, male winners (who was openly guilty of offensive actions) received more protection and support than was given to the show's first WOC lead.

Additionally, Lindsay was criticized for who she fell in love with: Abaloso, a Colombian man from Miami. At the beginning of Lindsay's season, The Root's Maiysha Kai wrote an article titled "Don't Bet on Black: The Bachelorette May Disappoint You." Kai discussed how Lindsay could be a disappointing Bachelorette to some because she didn't give her first impression rose to "a brother." The writer acknowledged, "Being the first—at anything—means the weight of 'the culture's' expectations rest firmly upon your shoulders." The article clearly implied that if the first black Bachelorette did not end up with a black man, she'd be letting down the culture by not representing "black love."

After Lindsay's season aired, The Bachelorette Season 13 contestant, Demario Jackson, hopped on "The E&G Podcast." During the interview, Jackson claimed Lindsay was attracted only to white men, noting, "I was only there for two weeks in the house. From the beginning you knew that she was attracted to white men. You knew that. No disrespect, you just knew. She had that vibe." Lindsay clapped back the next day, calling out Jackson for his hypocrisy, "Says the guy that dated Lexi," referring to the white girlfriend he had before coming on the show. She concluded, "Demario never knew me and still doesn't."

No matter what she did, Lindsay received the utmost scrutiny. Which leads us to the question: "Is America ready for a black Bachelor?"

In 2017, journalist Katie Barnes wrote an article for ESPNW, titled, "Why 'The Bachelor' franchise isn't ready for another black lead." Barnes noted how the show had not proven its ability to "deftly handle implications of a black man's sexual prowess or the historical context of a black man courting white women." She pointed out that American viewers still have a preference for same-race relationships, based on the Bachelor's lower ratings when they cast a black lead.

America has already had a black president, which should mean America is ready for a black Bachelor, right? Really, the question is whether or not The Bachelor production should be trusted to properly represent a black man on the network. The answer is, most likely, no.

Based on the franchise's history, it clearly cannot provide protection and respect to white and black contestants equally. The show has continuously put even white contestants, specifically the Bachelorettes, in harm's way by allowing emotionally and physically abusive men to remain on the show past their due. After the first black Bachelorette was treated unfairly based on race, how can any black man expect the show to represent him as a respectful, loving, funny, and kind man?

Why would a contestant as fantastic as Mike Johnson want to be the Bachelor when the show put the only previous black lead in danger by casting a racist contestant and manipulated edits to depict her as an ungrateful, angry black woman?

On the other hand, the veteran could have the opportunity to represent black men on a national scale. Of course being the first black Bachelor would come with unreasonable expectations and great weight, but he could depict a real black man's love and respect for women and love for his family, particularly his great love for his grandmother, mother, and sister. The decision to become the first of anything, like Maiysha Kai explained, is to be prepared for scrutiny all around. But it also means weighing the pros and the cons— is it better to contribute to the culture via representation or refrain due to the concerns of being misrepresented? By branding himself as the "first veteran Bachelor," Mike seems to be laying the groundwork to move the perception of his identity away from his blackness and towards his other qualities.

Truthfully, Mike Johnson has all the qualities to be the next and best Bachelor yet—and he happens to be black. Bachelor Nation has seen more genuine personality and heard more engaging soundbites from Mike Johnson than any other man this season. Mike is at a reasonable age to be "looking for love," he respects women, has life experience, he's a family guy, he's funny, he has a real career as a portfolio manager, and he's good-looking. Fun tidbit: He's the one who called out Luke P. from the beginning!

After boring, immature duds like Colton Underwood and Arie Luyendyk Jr., Mike could be the man the show needs to revitalize The Bachelor with a complex lead. And maybe this is exactly what Bachelor Nation needs to snap them out of their racial biases and tendencies— if Mike Johnson deems the franchise worthy.