Eric's Hyperawareness Of Race On 'The Bachelorette' Makes Sense

by Lia Beck
ABC/Thomas Lekdorf

Somehow, there are only six contestants remaining on The Bachelorette. (And somehow, two of them are Adam and Matt, but that's another story.) With only six men left, things are really getting serious, and Rachel is left with guys she could see as her husband (even Adam and Matt, I guess?), instead of guys who have stupid catchphrases or weird job titles or who are potentially racists. She's also left with only one black guy, Eric — which is fine. Rachel can choose whoever she damn well pleases on her journey to find love. But I'm still not surprised if Eric is concerned about being the last black Bachelorette contestant.

First of all, Eric has been concerned about everything this entire time. Eric is The Paranoid Contestant. There is always that one contestant who is really worried about the fact that they never got a one-on-one date even if there are multiple other people who also haven't gotten one. Eric has often been shown being insecure, but has usually gotten reassurance from Rachel, once in the form of a group date rose. Also, being The Paranoid Contestant, naturally, Eric has also opened up to his fellow suitors about his insecurity, which means we knew things, like the fact that he's never been in love, before he ever told Rachel.


That said, it's not a surprise that Eric, specifically, would also be concerned about whether Rachel is attracted to black guys or why only one of the black contestants had gotten a one-on-one date at a certain point in the season, because he's worried about a lot of stuff. But as the show goes on, it's also not a surprise that Eric would be thinking about how many black men are left, because it's only natural that he would, Paranoid Contestant or not. And now that he's the only black suitor left, I'm expecting that that feeling has grown.

When you're in a situation where you are "different" from the other people around you, it's near impossible to not be aware of it. I can't speak for Eric, but I feel almost constantly aware of being biracial, because in pretty much every situation I'm in, there's no one who looks like me. I imagine being a black man involves similar thoughts in the real world, but it especially must when you're on a reality dating show that is having its first black lead and has cast its most racially diverse season ever.

When Eric was shown pointing out how many black men remained, I couldn't blame him for literally counting them, because I couldn't help but do the same thing. As a fan of this show, it's been a long wait to see a person of color lead the series and it's been a long wait to see a season where multiple people of color are actually given a decent amount of screen time. It's almost like we have to hold on to these moments, so I totally understand the urge Eric has to quantify things.

ABC/Thomas Lekdorf

Where Eric needs to draw the line, though, is when it comes to judging Rachel's decisions. If Rachel ends up with four white men for hometowns, then that's because she thinks she has the strongest connection with those men and the greatest chance of having a successful relationship with them. (Also, that would mean the Adam or Matt made it through and there's no way, right? I'm sorry! I'm sorry!) Rachel, as she has stated many times, is on the show to find a husband. It's not her responsibility to ensure a black man wins the show or that one becomes the next Bachelor. If she's into a white guy, she's into a white guy. It's as simple as that.

Eric has not yet gone too far into this territory; although he did have a conversation with Anthony in which he questioned whether Rachel was into black guys after most of the one-on-ones went to white men. Anthony explained that Rachel's decisions are Rachel's decisions and that she doesn't see the guys as literally just black or white, and Eric, thankfully, seemed very receptive to his reasoning.

I don't doubt that Eric will be talking about race more in the next episode, because we haven't even heard him talk about being the only black man left yet, and I will continue to not blame him unless he starts making harsh judgements of Rachel's choices. And if he does, we all know she can put someone in his place.