Rachel’s ‘Bachelorette’ Choice Doesn’t Affect The Strides Her Season Made For Diversity

by Kayla Hawkins

The Bachelorette finale reveals the person who won Rachel's heart, and the decision doesn't look like it came easily. So when Rachel sent Eric home as the second runner up, that left Peter and Bryan as the top two. And even though Rachel didn't choose a black Bachelorette winner, that's not actually a problem, nor does it change a thing about what this season means. It's still very important that Rachel was chosen to lead the season, and her performance was flawless from the very first episode. And, Rachel should choose the man she cares about, regardless of what race he is.

First of all, this isn't a surprise — Rachel didn't ever seem to love Eric the same way she's really been taken by Bryan and Peter since the very first episode. He was a very likable guy who was more charming the longer he stuck around, but by the time he managed to get some camera time and some face time with Rachel, he was already more of a friend to her than soulmate material. It was a bit surprising that after a perfect date with Eric and a disastrous conversation with Peter that the latter got the chance to stay, but the heart doesn't always make perfect logical sense.

There's a simple principle to consider: If it's an individual choice that Rachel or anyone else involved makes, it doesn't impact representation. If it's a decision that ABC or The Bachelorette makes — like casting, editing, and producing choices — then it needs to be inclusive. It's why the previous Bachelors and Bachelorettes, who mostly chose white partners on the show, have never been at fault for the show's homogeneity. And Rachel is no different, she's allowed to make whatever choice will make her happy. And who doesn't want Rachel Lindsay to be happy?

Some people philosophically believe a partner of the same racial or ethnic background is the most compatible for them, or they want someone who can understand their personal experience and struggles. That's also a valid personal choice. But clearly, Rachel has never subscribed to that view, as she fell in love with Nick Viall last year, and gave her multiracial, multiethnic cast a fair shake this year as well. It's also worth noting that Rachel's choice of a nonblack partner isn't really indicative of any larger trend among black women specifically. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2013, only 12 percent of black women married someone outside of their race, compared to 25 percent of black men. And the only person directly affected, Eric, doesn't seem too broken up about this. As Rachel said to him, "It's not that I didn't love you. It's just that I had to compare with what I had with the two men left." If he can accept it, so can the audience.

Here's what should happen as a result of Rachel not choosing a black man as the winner of The Bachelorette: ABC should be setting up meetings with Eric, Kenny, and some of the other black men in the cast to potentially cast one of them as the Bachelor. They should be invited to Paradise. And when casting for the next round of Bachelor and Bachelorette suitors comes around, there should be just as many women and men of color then as there were this year, regardless of who the leading person is.

Hopefully, Rachel's choice leads her to a long and successful marriage. Fans can't expect anything more from her than that.